The state of the art multi-million dollar Fire Services Station, located in the Pineridge Constituency, on Cathedral Boulevard (formerly Settler’s Way), remains closed, after more than a year of being acknowledged as completed and ready for occupancy.
Pineridge Member of Parliament Rev. Frederick McAlpine on Tuesday was apologetic.
Government officials have informed that the reason for the facility remaining closed was due to lack of furniture, to outfit the building, noting that proper furniture was ordered and awaiting arrival on the island. This is the case despite the fact that an official opening ceremony was planned by the previous government, just prior to the general elections date May 10 of 2017. This government inherited a finished project.
This daily spoke with MP McAlpine on Tuesday morning, in hopes of garnering some insight, with respect to the opening of the essential service building. He too expressed that he had been advised from the powers that be, that lack of furniture for the building was indeed the reason for the doors remaining closed. However he was extremely apologetic to his constituents, and, Grand Bahamians at large, for the long delay.
“First of all, I would like to apologize for the fact that, we have been in now, a little over a year, and, at this time the fire station in the Pineridge Constituency, has not yet been opened.
“It has been completed for some time and I would like to see some activity and movement in such a modern facility. It is a very nice facility, and, again I am very sorry that it is taking us so long, to put bodies in there, so as to have movement, in such a structure, and avoid other things from happening to the building, in terms of erosion, mold, etcetera, because no one is in there. That has been my concern.
“However, a part of the hold-up, from the government’s perspective has been that they are waiting on furniture. I have talked about this in the House of Assembly, being facetious in saying that hopefully the furniture would reach from heaven soon enough. Although I was being facetious, I am hoping, and, based on what I am hearing, the furniture (pieces) should be in place. They have been ordered and so we are just waiting on the arrival, putting them in and hopefully we can be up and running,” stated McAlpine.
McAlpine commended the former government for its involvement in the construction of the facility, noting that the edifice is indeed top notch.
“It would also be remiss of me, if I did not also give credit to the former government, for doing work that they did, in that building, and it was indeed good work. It is a very modern piece of construction. It is 21st Century compliant and for this I am grateful. I hope that the officers and personnel who will work out of that building will do all that they can, to maintain it.
“Once again, my deepest and greatest apologies to the residents of Pineridge, and by extension, Grand Bahama, for us not having this building up at running at this time,” he said.
McAlpine was questioned as to whether he was informed by the present Minister of National Security, Hon. Marvin Dames, that furniture items for the building had indeed been ordered.
“Yes, I have been told by the Minister of National Security and other powers that be, that we are just waiting on the furniture to arrive.
“We hope to have this station up and running in short order. We need to do all that we can, to move expeditiously, to see to it, that that facility is opened, and that bodies are in it,” concluded McAlpine.
In April of this year, while touring a number of capital works projects on the island, Minister of Works Hon. Desmond Bannister had the opportunity to tour the fire services station. At the time, he too shared that he had been informed that lack of furniture was the reason that the station remained unopened.
This daily attempted to reach Minister Dames for an update with respect to the arrival of the furniture and, an expected date of the official opening of the facility. However, up to press time, calls remained unanswered.
The Fire Services Station was constructed by Patrick McDonald Construction Company Limited at a cost of $6.1 million.
Ground breaking for the facility took place on July 28, 2015 under the former Progressive Liberal Party Government, led by former Prime Minister Perry Christie. A number of Cabinet Ministers attended the event, inclusive of the former Minister of National Security, the late Dr. Bernard Nottage.
The property, which consists of three acres of land, on the corner of Sergeant Major and Cathedral Boulevard, was donated by the Grand Bahama Port Authority. The facility consists of an 11,660 square foot two storey structure; inclusive of an administrative building, administrative offices for staff, a reception area with public bathrooms, a police training room, operator’s office, and police locker room, among other amenities.