After months of major setbacks, the new hockey turf at Wildey, St Michael will finally be in place by August 1, says Barbados Olympic Association director, Cammie Burke.
Wednesday morning Barbados TODAY spotted a team from Pammard Services cleaning off the asphalt and when contacted Burke confirmed that Argentina-based company Forbex, suppliers of the turf, had sent their installation crew to oversee the work being done which will take ten to fifteen days to complete, weather permitting.
However, in order for the two men – Anthonio Ortiz and Juan Neives – to begin work, they must first get their work permits in order, which Burke said they hoped to get sorted very soon with the Immigration Department.
“So what you are seeing up at the pitch is just the preparatory work. The pitch has to be cleaned and then the carpet itself has to be rolled out because it has been rolled up for some time and then to be levelled out and dried before any real work can start. We have been told ten to fifteen days once everything goes well and work permits are issued before August which is the time they [the men from Forbex] are scheduled to leave, the pitch should be down and play can start back on the pitch,” he said.
During the interview, Burke broke the news that the annual hockey festival would not take place on the new turf this year even though it would be laid in time for the competition.
“There is still some other work to be done. The bathroom facilities are to be upgraded, the whole complex for that matter has to be brought back up to scratch, so the hockey festival will have to remain at the Usain Bolt facility and some grass pitches around the island,” the BOA director said.
He also made it clear that the BOA has been charged with the responsibility of managing the process but they certainly would not be managing hockey in Barbados. He added that the international sponsors, the International Hockey Federation and the Pan American Sports Organization, had asked the BOA to assume the role of managers of the project and that was the only role that they would be playing.
Several issues have plagued the laying of the turf dating back to 2015 when those responsible were unable to source the correct sand but the 240-ton shipment of sand eventually arrived in Barbados a year later in December 2016. Then there was a further delay because the adhesive was replaced and only arrived in June of this year.
Moreover, Burke told Barbados TODAY in the past they had issues relating to funding and at the present moment still had difficulties sourcing money to complete phase one of the project. But he thanked the Government of Barbados for its assistance of BDS$50 000 towards the project. Once the turf has been laid then the next phase will be the removal of old lights and the installation of new ones.
Burke held back no punches when he explained the National Sports Council was a major player but had been tardy in doing what they had to do and that was the cause for major delays and hiccups where the project was concerned.
“In every project, there are things that happen that would cause you to go over budget and the Government of Barbados has given us another $50 000 to help with the over budget but we are still looking for another $25 000 to completely do what we have to do in this phase.”
Burke added: “Shortly after phase one is completed with the pitch, we will be removing the lights from the facility because they are in a serious state of disrepair and then we have to go into discussion with another entity relative to the repair of those lights. So it is an ongoing project and once all goes well, I should say by the end of the year we should have a complete facility.”