|Unfinished: Shaw Park Cultural Complex. |
Photo Courtesy TobagoNews
THE multi-million dollar Shaw Park Cultural Complex has failed its fire inspection.
Media Groups have learnt that fire officers toured the structure last weekend and found it lacked adequate lighting and storage space and that there were no proper directional signage in the case of an emergency. The complex, which was started in 2005, will seat up to 5,000 people when it is finished.
There will now be a re-inspection by the fire service. NIPDEC, which manages the project, now has three months to address the failures, and to get the facility ready for public use.
The Divisional Fire Officer, David Thomas, says, “We are almost very happy with what was done. There are some areas in which we need to partner with the contractor to have rectified so everyone can be happy.”
Millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money has been already spent on the complex. In September, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) announced that it would be putting pressure on NIPDEC to complete the complex by early 2014. As of 2008, the project’s estimated cost was $196 million and was to have been completed in 2010 at a cost of $250 million. Last year, the estimated cost of the project stood at $400 million.
The THA has publicly complained about its budget allocation from Central Government, and the affect it will have on major projects. It wanted an allocation of $4.95 billion; instead it only received $2.477 billion, an increase from the amount settled in the last fiscal year of $2.356 billion. The THA has announced that in 2013-2014 it is allocating $200 million to complete the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
The official website of the Shaw Park Cultural Complex states that the structure will be the island’s premiere arts and cultural centre, which aims to promote, support and advance the arts in Tobago. It will have performance spaces, a cultural library, dressing rooms, meeting and conference rooms and a bar. A working group was set up in January 2010, which is chaired by John Arnold. The group liaises with NIPDEC and also aims “to ensure that the facility satisfies the needs and expectations of the Tobago public.”
The website states that the complex is an “ambitious and unique initiative of the THA.” It also states that the complex was scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2011.
A few weeks ago, Tobago News reported that work on the roundabout outside the complex, which is costing six million dollars, is facing delays. Construction was due to be completed by October 13th but the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities told Tobago News that the deadline has now been moved to the end of December.