PPP – built sports facilities falling apart

first_imgSEVERAL sports facilities, built by the opposition during their time in government, particularly the almost half a billion National Aquatic Centre and the $1 billion National Track and Field Centre – are already falling apart and will be in need of very costly repairs in the not-too-distant future.Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr George Norton, pointed out during his budget debate that the cracking at the National Aquatic Centre has gotten even worse, and cracks to the floor of the pool had to be recently rectified.It is common knowledge that the facility has been experiencing structural issues for some time now, with the first having appeared just months after the facility was commissioned in 2011, it has now gotten worse. The facility’s main building has shifted from its original position, according to Norton.“You walk around the building you’re actually seeing the building shifting as much as 17 inches from the position where it’s supposed to be.“The pool building is cracked, the actual floor of the pool is cracked and had to be patched up. The tiles are coming off by themselves. I met it like that, those are some of the major issues that we’ve seen there, at that facility,” Norton said.He did not mince words on what was the cause of the defects. However, the damage is so severe that it might run into serious construction to rectify.“It was bad construction, definitely bad engineering. I doubt whether there’s anything that we can do (to fix the cracks). We might have to break down that entire building. But I would leave that for the experts to decide. We have no choice but to do that, to have the experts go in to have a look and to say how bad it is, and how long it will last,” Norton explained.Construction on the facilities at the National Aquatic Centre, which features the country’s only 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool first began in early 2008.After several missed deadlines, suspension of works due to design and engineering problems and huge cost increases the facility was officially commissioned in November 2011, by then President Bharrat Jagdeo.At that time the pool came under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, headed by then Minister Dr Frank Anthony. In 2012 Anthony finally admitted that the actual cost for the pool was $581.3M, up from the $425.1M engineer’s estimate.Despite the inflated price the facility did not include a warm-up/warm-down pool that was included in the original design.A 25m warm-up/warm-down pool was later added to the facility at a cost of $37.3M, with construction beginning in September 2013 and this pool being commissioned by then President Donald Ramotar in February 2015.Apart from that, the Synthetic Athletics Track on the West Coast of Demerara has already begun to concern stakeholders, though the facility is just three years old, first commissioned in April 2015.The rubberised surface of the track is breaking apart and the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) is worried but hopeful the issue is addressed.“The track itself has developed some areas where the rubber is coming off the bottom surface, and it needs to be addressed given the international events we have to prepare for next year and those we’re looking to host in 2020,” explained AAG president Aubrey Hutson.Norton says he does not understand how the track has deteriorated to such a state when just over two weeks ago, the National School Championships was held there.According to Norton, from all information afforded to him, the rubberised material on the track should have been thicker than what was used. The rubberised surface of the track was laid by the German company BSW Regopul.“This is only our second National School Championships (being held at the track) and I doubt whether it would last another two, I showed what the material is supposed to look like as compared to what it is at the moment,” said Norton, who had displayed in Parliament on Wednesday a piece of the synthetic track that had come off.“It is supposed to be ½ an inch but it’s about 1/8th of an inch in terms of thickness. It’s happening all around the track, we’re finding. That red surface that you seeing there is peeling off its beading out like sand.One of the workers there he used some glue, spread it as if he’s painting it. That’s what we’re doing to keep it covered otherwise we would not have a track at this point in time. That is really unfortunate because I don’t think we have gotten the full use of that track there.”However, the deterioration comes at a time when Guyana is about to get two additional synthetic track facilities, one in Berbice and one in Linden.The Minister noted that another international company, MONDO Tracks, has indicated that it would be willing to assess the situation of the track on a pro bono basis.last_img