Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will be expediting work on the Little Tobago jetty to get a temporary solution ready in time for Easter 2022. Augustine made the declaration after a site visit on Sunday.
He said, “No longer will visitors to Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary be injured trying to hop off glass-bottom boats and other sea crafts unto an unsafe jetty.”
Accompanying Augustine on this journey via Speyside were Infrastructure Secretary and Assistant Secretary, Trevor James and Joel Sampson; Administrator, Ritchie Toppin; and other technocrats from the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development (DIQUD). The purpose of the visit was to explore options for advancing a temporary solution for the defunct jetty.
In a press release on Tuesday, the division said the decommissioning of the jetty in March 2021, coupled with the covid19 pandemic restrictions resulted in little to no operations at the Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary.
"This has resulted in the crippling of income for numerous stakeholders," the division said.
Augustine hopes to address this by tackling it as one of his administration's first-quarter goals. He said, "We don't want to miss another year of income for our stakeholders, we missed the last peak season, which was winter season last year, and we are aiming to have some provision for them in time for the Easter weekend, which occurs in and around the 16th of April.”
The division said, based on the assessment, it was found that the piles on site maintained their integrity and were therefore still usable. As such, the technocrats have proposed a temporary design, which will see the installation of a precast, 85ft-long temporary pre-stressed
concrete slab, imposed on the existing sub-structure. The design will also see wing walls and plate anchors to facilitate berthing and disembarkation.
Augustine added, “The residents in Speyside and environs have cherished this property as being a key component to the tourism product in the east, as it is tied closely with the scuba diving and the reef sightings tours in and around the harbour in Speyside."
He said visitors will be attracted to the island once safety is improved; amenities such as toilet facilities are provided; and having adequately constructed viewing decks.
The division thanking all affected stakeholders for their patience and promised to work assiduously to bring the project to