By Orville Williams
Construction work is set to recommence soon on the Sunshine Hub car park in St John’s, with the government sharing the latest update this week.
During yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Information Minister Melford Nicholas reminded that the project – which began under the United Progressive Party (UPP) administration back in 2005 and was halted in 2010 due to financial issues – needed to be reassessed from a technical standpoint.
He explained that that assessment has finally been completed, meaning the next step is to choose an entity to do the necessary refurbishment and execute the rest of the construction.
“[The National Asset Management Company]NAMCO would have made an investment in the car park for some US$6 million. At the time when that was undertaken, we did not move to immediate refurbishment because it had been sitting idle for a while,” he said.
“So, we needed to do some engineering studies to make a determination whether or not it was safe to proceed.
“We have completed those [studies] and it is just a matter now of completing the process of selecting a major tender to complete eight particular scopes of work to get the car park, in and of itself, in operation.
“And beyond that, the rest of the facilities on the northern side that would include office [spaces]. So, there is work that is going to be done on the car park in the not-too-distant future,” Nicholas said.
The completion and operationalisation of the facility has been a contentious topic for some time, particularly due to the level of financial investment involved, and also the urgent need for additional parking in the city.
Nicholas previously told the media that funds have already been allocated to complete the construction work, including the office spaces which will serve as the new home for the state-owned Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Services (ABS).
A perimeter fence was erected at the property back in February 2020, but it is still plagued by vagrants and other unwanted trespassers.