By Shermain Bique-Charles
After years of pledges to complete the long-awaited Sunshine Hub Car Park in St John’s, government announced Thursday that it will begin work imminently.
During yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Information Minister Melford Nicholas recommitted to completing the car park which has long been seen as crucial to helping solve the city’s parking woes.
Nicholas however stopped short of providing a definitive date for its completion.
The government bought the property in March 2017 and it is now under the control of the National Asset Management Company (NAMCO).
Nicholas said funds have already been allocated for the work and the government is awaiting the completion of the planning process which includes a review of drawings and other related documents.
The Cabinet spokesperson also indicated the Ministry of Works intends to hire a contractor to complete the southern side of the structure to be used for parking vehicles. Government has also previously indicated its intention to transform some of the property into office space.
“One thing I can say is that on the northern side of the hub, the upper floor has been designated for use by ABS [state media]. We are awaiting certain drawings and then that will go to Public Works for costing and the selection of a contractor; funds have been allocated for it already,” he said.
Construction on the car park began in 2005 during the United Progressive Party’s first term in government but was halted in 2010 after the financiers, CL Financial Group, collapsed.
In March 2017 it was officially purchased by the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party administration for further development under NAMCO.
Minister of Works Lennox Weston later chided NAMCO’s progress on the project and said the car park’s development would move much faster under his ministry.
In early January 2020, government announced work would commence within a week. A month later, it said a contractor had been employed to assess its condition.
A perimeter fence was erected in February 2020 but there has been little progress since. The facility is said to have capacity for around 250 vehicles.