Moore’s Island National Sports Academy project now on hold

Moore’s Island Dorm

One of the challenges facing the sports arm of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, is continuing the development program ignited by the previous administration.Today, the focus is the Moore’s Island aspect of the National Sports Academy.

The project, inclusive of a dormitory to house 40 student/athletes, a track, a soccer field, a beach volleyball/soccer facility, tennis courts, a center for community activities inclusive of rest rooms and a viewing section, was on course, via the schedule of the Ministry of Sports for the official opening ceremony to take place this month.

Not a word has been given regarding the project thus far by the new leadership in the sports ministry. Clearly, based on the body of work still necessary to bring the project to completion, September, unless construction furiously gets underway again, will not be the opening month for the first phase of the National Sports Academy.

The Treasury is not budging as one would like, so financial restraint is understandable. At the very least though, an update should be given regarding the much-publicized project which was earmarked to be the first significant physical presence, heralding the era of the National Sports Academy. A lot had been done already by the previous administration. The government had partnered with private individuals, putting in 50 percent of the cost towards the dorm.

The Ministry of Works had seen to the construction of the track and it was at the stage whereby just a decision had to be made as to whether the running area would be grass or synthetic. The early views led to a grass running surface, but engineers countered that decision because of the lack of sufficient water in Moore’s Island to keep the track watered and ready for competition. The last bit of information reaching me indicated that the Ministry of Works and representatives of the construction team were trying to come up with the most feasible synthetic material that would be durable but still cost effective.

The Moore’s Island project represents a major capital work. The general public should be updated. The same is true in my view, regarding the proposed sports complex planned for Central Abaco. The previous administration had in the pipeline something very similar to the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, but with several additions. Facilities for swimming and beach volleyball/soccer are on the architect’s plan.

The concept of a National Sports Academy is brilliant. It was one of the good ideas former Prime Minister Perry Christie had. However, as with so many other projects, he was unable to provide the leadership that inspired follow-ups and the process straight through to completion. The expectation is high within the country’s sports fraternity that the present government will continue on with the National Sports Academy. I strongly believe the interest is there.

Much work has to be done however. The Moore’s Island project will launch the National Sports Academy. We are now in the fourth month of the new government. Hopefully word will be forthcoming soon about the Moore’s Island National Sports Academy phase.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).

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