Limited funds available for rehabilitative work on airport in Bequia
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April 19, 2013

Limited funds available for rehabilitative work on airport in Bequia

A lack of available funding has been given as the reason why much of the needed rehabilitative and maintenance work has not been done at the J.F Mitchell Airport in Bequia.{{more}}

Corsel Robertson, Director of Airports, however, confirmed that some work had already started on sections of the facility, such as the runway, which she said needed immediate attention and with the lighting, which also needed some urgent attention.

“We are in extremely difficult economic times; I don’t think that that is any secret,” she said, adding that as a result of the shortage of capital, restorative work now had to be done at intervals.

The director of airports also explained that the traffic volume at that airport was limited and the returns on the investment were not coming – the majority of people going into Bequia did so by boat.

She said that the ideal thing would have been to take a quantity of money and put it into the project, but this could not be facilitated at the present time.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the facility located in Paget Farm, Bequia, on Saturday, large gaping holes were discovered in the ceiling and according to Parliamentary Representative Dr Godwin Friday, these holes are a security risk.

Sections of the roof are beginning to give way and when it rains, it leaks, he said.

There are sections of the runway, especially along the apron, Friday said, that needed some more work; lighting in the parking facility is also a problem.

And the generator at the facility has to be turned on manually, rather than starting automatically whenever there is an interruption in the electricity supply.

But Robertson said that all the problems that had been pointed out had already been observed by the government’s maintenance organisation, the Buildings, Roads and General Services Authority (BRAGSA).

“And all of this has been brought to our attention,” she said.

Robertson also explained that the generator was operating the way it was designed to work from inception.

“However, we have recognized that it has become necessary to redo the generator and lighting,” she said.

They are, however, still waiting on funding.

On the issue of maintenance, Robertson said that it was crucial that maintenance and rehabilitation not be confused, saying that there are teams that visit sites such as the airport facilities to do basic assessment and maintenance work.

However, the majority of the work that was required came under rehabilitation.

“It is a slow process; we have started and we have done some work last year – some has also been done this year,” she said.

An electrical sub-contractor was expected to visit the site to do an assessment of the work required. Robertson said that she was currently waiting on that report, however. (DD)