Argyle International airport moving ahead
April 7, 2006

Argyle International airport moving ahead

Still in its preparatory stages, the Argyle International Airport moved another step towards reality with the International Airport Development Committee (IADC) anticipating conclusion by the end of this week of an agreement with Murray Hadaway. Hadaway will be paid EC$1 million as down payment for 21 acres of lands at Harmony Hall to be made available for sale to the Argyle Property Owners.{{more}}

The undeveloped lands are expected to cost almost EC$5 million.

On Tuesday, April 4, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced that the IADC had arrived at an agreement to purchase the lands at Harmony Hall, which he described as a beautiful area for housing.

The Prime Minister recalled that several options were offered to the Argyle Property Owners and most of them said that they preferred the Harmony Hall option while some opted to make their own arrangements.

The IADC is to purchase the lands at a price per square foot of $5.02 and upon development will sell to the Argyle Property Owners at $7 per square foot.

At present Her Majesty Prisons has resumed the clearing of the lands and burning of the tree trunks for the infrastructual work. Dexter Gellizeau of CDSS has been approved by the board of IADC to carry out the land development plan, design and survey, road design and supervision.

A target date in late May has been set for the commencement of actual development work.

Dr. Gonsalves said once the lands have been sufficiently cleared, the IADC would organize tours of the lands to show the property owners of Argyle the lands and begin the process of lot selection. He however noted that where there is interest in the same plot, lots would be drawn.

The Prime Minister said the Argyle property owners will be given an instant capital gain of about EC$3 per square foot as the market value of the lands ranges from between EC$10 to EC$12 per square foot.

And Dr. Gonsalves said Government was also hoping to waive the five per cent stamp duty that would normally be paid by sellers, in this case the Argyle Property Owners when they sell their properties to the IADC.

He explained Government would also bear all the legal fees in the conveyance of the properties; normally the purchaser would pay all their legal fees.

Additionally, homeowners are allowed to take as much as they can remove from their properties even when the IADC has purchased them, said Dr. Gonsalves.

He disclosed that several properties owners have already gotten their monies. He said they have either received it in full or partial judgement.

Residents and land holders at Argyle who are to be affected in some way by the International Airport will be brought up to date as to the current situation facing them at a Government consultation planned for the P’Tani Resort next Monday at 5 p.m.

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves appealed to all the persons who have an interest in the issue to turn up and foster a good discussion. He said the consultation will be aired live on radio so that the entire country can be brought up to date as well.

Dr. Gonsalves expressed the gratitude of the Government to all the property owners who have so far given their consent for the experts to carry out soil testing on their properties.

Variant No. 3 has been approved as the final alignment and designated area for the Argyle International Airport. This shifts the original runway recommended by Cox and the MMM group two degrees closer north which now puts the entire runway on land except for about 300 metres of the fenced area towards the north eastern end which extends into the sea. Dr. Gonsalves said this variant is the cheapest of the four that has been suggested and it also does not change significantly the number of houses affected.

“It must be noted that the selected Variant No. 3 reduces the effective landing distance of the runway to 2,525 metres as the approach lights will be placed on the southern end of the runway. Nevertheless this effective shortening of the runway from 2745 metres is hardly likely to affect the types of aircraft up to Boeing 747 using the airport, as most aircraft requires a shorter distance for landing than for take off,” said Dr. Gonsalves as he added that the full length of the runway will be available for take off.