By Carlena Knight
Demolition of the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) double decker stand at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) could begin in short order as one major process in the project is now underway.
Sports Minister, Daryll Matthew, provided a brief update on the latest developments in the long overdue project.
“Construction has finally started for the temporary area for the vendors to be relocated. I don’t know what the timeframe is for the construction I was told it could be ready very quickly, so as soon as they are finished, the vendors will be relocated and the demolition can begin,” Matthew explained.
In a previous interview with this media house, Matthew explained that the booths were completed and that the delay was due to some final repairs that needed to be done on the site which included the installation of a bathroom.
The vendors who previously operated under the double decker stand will be placed north of the government printery in the green space next to the Cricket West Indies (CWI) ticket booth.
After demolition, the newly created space will remain open for a short time before reconstruction commences on the new stand.
The YASCO Sports Complex is expected to benefit from the demolition of the stand as plans have been outlined to utilise salvaged material to construct permanent seating at the country’s lone track and field facility.
The dilapidated state of the ARG has come under much scrutiny by members of the public. Recently, cricketing legend Sir Vivian Richards shared his disapproval over the condition of the ARG.
Matthew also touched on the work that the committee which was put in place to govern ARG affairs has been doing. He revealed that the ministry has yet to receive a report but have had several conversations over specific matters.
“You can imagine there are a lot of moving parts in this entire thing and a lot of it has to do with timing as well, so while they may be able to come up with some master plans…it is not an overnight process where we decide this is what we want to do and here it is; there is a lot of thinking, planning, strategising and costing that needs to go in place to ensure that when that document is received, it is something that the public can be proud of,” he said.
The removal and revamping of other stands and restoration of the field itself were identified as a number of other priority areas that Mr Hilroy Humphreys, the chairman of the ARG Committee, shared during a previous interview.
Humphreys further explained that discussions are even underway to approach a number of businesses and individuals who own boxes at the Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB) stand to see if they are interested in pumping more money into their upgrade.