Saturday, February 24, 2018

King’s Wharf sawmill finally demolished


FOUR-STOREY CAR PARK: San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein last week looks on as a tractor fills a hole where once stood a sawmill on San Fernando King’s Wharf. A four-storey car park is proposed for the site as part of the San Fernando Waterfront P roject. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

Mark Fraser

AFTER 60 years at King’s Wharf San Fernando, the sawmill near the west entrance to the general hospital, has been demolished.  

Last week, members of the San Fernando City Corporation towed the last derelict vehicle on the compound under the supervision of San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein.

The Primer Sawmill was first registered in the 1950s and there have been several changes in owners. In 1988, it was registered under the name Dr Singh’s Sawmill. 

Hosein, in a statement given to the media wrote: “While the sawmill would have served a significant purpose, it is but a victim of change and time. In addition, there are safety concerns of having a sawmill in close proximity to a busy traffic area and soon to be a high pedestrian area. For the past few years, the sawmill situated on the property of the San Fernando City Corporation became an eyesore in the developing city and the waterfront.”

The mayor said the removal of the sawmill was the beginning of the city’s plan to pursue the much discussed waterfront project.

The Express was told  that ten years ago, consultations began with the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) which owned the lands. PTSC, two years ago signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the corporation allowing them to use the lands for the waterfront project. Actual demolition began several weeks ago at the owner’s expense.

Hosein said the area will now be used as a car park since the city was in dire need of parking space.

He said: “We would like to see a car park coming to facilitate the hospital, the activities on the wharf. There is no adequate parking for people when they come to visit  the hospital. We will recommend that a four-storey car park  be put here. I called on the wrecker to be very lenient with people with how they park their cars in San Fernando.”

However, two persons squatting on the land for over 30 years will also have to be removed.

Hosein said: “ We need to take  a legal course of action to remove them a humane manner.”

In the interim, the corporation will begin to clear the land and make it available for parking, he said.

The mayor had also complained about  a  public meeting scheduled to take place last Thursday concerning the waterfront project organised by  the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development. He said more consultation was needed with the corporation.

“We as a council would like to be more involved with this project and as we say in San Fernando, nobody must sit in Port of Spain and tell us what must be done in San Fernando. We need to have proper consultation with the Ministry of Planning,” he said.

The mayor said King’s Wharf will soon become the hub of the southern city  with more transformation of buildings and the tearing down of old ones.