THE National Velodrome and Aquatic Centre in Couva will not become another Tarouba Stadium. Sport Minister Anil Roberts gave the assurance the billion-dollar facility will be completed on time and under budget.
The project is being undertaken by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) International (Caribbean) Ltd.
Speaking at the topping-off ceremony of the National Velodrome Project on Monday, Roberts said more than 40 per cent local content was involved in the construction. “We have over 40 per cent local content on materials, assistants, transport and technology. This is the way projects must be done in Trinidad and Tobago.
“It is great when you can see that before procurement legislation it is possible to bring mega projects to Trinidad and Tobago on time and on budget. We have great contractors with local content and an international partnership between one of the greatest countries in the world, China and Trinidad and Tobago.”
Roberts said the aquatic centre was promised by the country’s first prime minister Dr Eric Williams back in 1966. “You are seeing it coming for the people, for the children and citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Many people asked me two years ago ‘you talking, you dreaming this will never happen. We are a country of Tarouba Stadiums where budgets at $175 million end up at $1.1 billion with $200 million more to spend. They said that is the country that we live in and I said no,” he said.
Clifford Murray, managing director of CG Murray Ltd, said the facility is on its way to completion by the 2015 deadline. He said the main structure for the 2,500-seat velodrome was completed within eight months. And if all goes well, the contract for the 250- metre track would be signed this week.
The aquatic centre was also moving at fast pace with work ongoing on a main competition pool and a warm up pool both 51.2 metres in length and ten lanes wide. The main pool would be named after World Championship bronze medallist George Bovell.
Murray said the centre will also include a 5.5 metres deep dive pool and dry-dive facility which will facilitate training and development of divers.
“At this stage all the pools are structurally nearing completion and preparations are in place for the finishing stage,” he said.
Murray said construction of the 1,200-seat main stand was also under way and it is expected that both the velodrome and aquatic centre would be commissioned during the first half of 2015.
“Today’s event represents the completion of the highest point on the entire project. There is a cause for celebration by the contractor and workers as this achievement generally generates good luck for the remainder of the project,” he said.
Murray said another mega project being undertaken was a tennis centre in Tacarigua comprising four indoor courts and six outdoor courts. A 1,500-seat main centre court is also included.
“All the structural work on this facility has already been completed and this should be the first facility to be handed over which we expect to be done by end of 2014,” he said.