Construction of De Strip starts in an effort to enhance the tourism product
(SKNIS): The first phase of the Enhancement of De Strip project has already begun, which will not only see the beautification of the area but the enhancement of the tourism product.
This phase will see the construction of 12ft paved roads, roundabouts, sidewalks, entrance and exit structures, provisions for solar lightings, unit entrances, porticos, parking for over 100 vehicles and the installment of infrastructure, including plumbing and electrical work.
Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant, said that this augers well for the future development of the area.
The minister said that the project is jointly funded by the government and the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF). He added that the scope of the project was derived from the report produced in 2014. It provided an analysis of the existing conditions of De Strip and made recommendations as to what can be done to realize the full potential of this, which is the premiere nightspot in St. Kitts.
“So, we have dusted that off, we have improved it and today we start a long journey towards making sure that what we develop here will advance the visitor experience,” said Minister Grant.
The minister explained that to redefine and refine the scope of the project, the Ministry of Tourism assembled a six member team comprised of officers from the Ministry of Tourism and the Public Works Department, architects and engineers from Brisbane O’Garro Alvaranga.
“Many months of discussion and collaborations followed,” said Minister Grant. He added that the Ministry of Finance, ADB Construction, Surry Paving, and CDF Barbados also helped in redefining and refining the project.
The minister explained that at the centre of the project was the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Permanent Secretary there, Charlton Edwards.
“The project here provided an opportunity for St. Kitts and Nevis to begin the process of implementing a phase to restore the competitiveness of our tourism industry and our product here at South Frigate Bay,” said Minister Grant. “The proposed facility would be similar to other successful operations across the Caribbean.”
The tourism minister said that the vendors, hotels and tour operators are ready to collaborate and to ensure the tourist experience, the culture and cuisine of St. Kitts and Nevis are up to international standards, while enjoying comfortable and safe surroundings and a pleasant atmosphere.
“In the words of the ministry of tourism, led by the interagency Sustainable Development Management Council (ASDMC) ‘Good for us but Better for All’.”
The combined cost of the first phase of this project is $3,261,481.44. The grant from CDF is $1,227,795 and from the government approximately $2 million.
The minister of tourism said that his ministry is proud to be the executing agency for the project and will coordinate all the technical support from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Public Works Department to acquire the necessary resources to implement the project.
The project will also benefit from the oversite and guidance of the Programme Management Committee (PMC), which is comprised of senior officials from private and public entities.