Fourteen months past its projected completion date, work on the long-awaited Buccoo Bay Boardwalk project has resumed.
First announced in 2013, work to develop the Buccoo beachfront project began in June 2018 at an estimated cost of $6 million. In a 2018 interview, electoral representative for the area Ancil Dennis said the project would be done in three phases, adding that the funds would only cover the first two. The 200-metre boardwalk was expected to be completed by January 30, 2020.
In an interview with Newsday on Friday, Dennis said the project has been revised to two phases. Phase one – the boardwalk reconstruction – is being done at $5 million, and is still ongoing.
He said it was being done by the Office of the Chief Secretary and the contractor was Ayer Investment Services Ltd.
The other phase, he said, includes repairs to the jetty, as it was badly damaged by rough seas.
“So it included the repair works to the jetty and then the extension of the boardwalk from the jetty all the way back to phase one.
“I am yet to get the final cost on that – that is being done by Infrastructure (THA Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment) – and I am still yet to get the information from them as to how much that would cost.:He said the Infrastructure Division had also brought in a contractor, Warner Construction, for this phase.
Dennis, now the chief secretary, said the project should be completed within the next two months.
Questioned about the lengthy delay, he said the project had been stopped on two occasions.
“The first stoppage was due to a lack of funds – the contractor took some time to be paid on one occasion and therefore work was stopped. Then on another occasion, we had some issues with the quality of the work as it was progressing and therefore work was stopped again and the contractor was asked to do over certain aspects of the project, so that resulted in some delays as well.”
He said it must be recognised that the environment and aesthetics are very important to Tobago’s tourism product.
“When people visit our shores, we expect there to be nice, good-looking locations where they could come, gather, socialise, take out pictures, post on Instagram; people look forward to visiting sites and attractions, whether it be waterfalls, whether it be beaches and that kind of stuff. But also there has to be green and social spaces where people can come and gather and experience the beauty of Tobago.”
He said Buccoo cannot be neglected as it is a tourism hub, owing to the popular Buccoo Sunday School, activities on the Buccoo Reef, and the fishing sector.
“It was important for us to move that beachfront from a state of complete disrepair. It was important for us to make that investment to move it from that to what it is now, and what it would be when the project is finally completed.”
Additionally, there are plans to erect an I Love Buccoo sign, similar to the popular I Love Tobago sign at the Milford Road Scarborough Esplanade.
“Yes, there is supposed to be that sign being placed somewhere close to the vicinity of the jetty. That is part of the project.”
Questioned on the cost of this sign, Dennis said: “It would be part of the overall cost for the second phase, which I am still awaiting from infrastructure.”