Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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Concerns over $325k project in Exuma

Concerns about the$325,000 dock construction refurbishment in Exuma have been raised, with the chamber of commerce chief for the island questioning whether the budget is sufficient to carry out the project.

President of the Exuma Chamber of Commerce Floyd Armbrister told Guardian Business that the concerns were raised regarding the amount designated for the project–specifically whether the$325,120 would be enough for a proper revamp of the George Town, Exuma dock.

“It’s a low amount for an infrastructure project andwe hope the job can be done with that amount,”said Armbrister.

The chamber chief also said that more work would still be needed on the site. He said the project was”cosmetic work but a good start.”

Armbrister said that a great number of jobs would not be created from the project because of its size, but it has brought a ray of encouragement to progress being made on the island.

The dock refurbishment project includes construction of a new bulkhead with a roll-on and roll-off lamp, creation of new bollards, repairing existing sheet pile and supply and installation of light poles with lights. The contract was awarded to R and F McKenzie and is the first time a project of that nature on that island has been given to an Exuma native.

Although the project was awarded to a local, Armbrister said that several contractors who expressed an interest may have not received the same consideration as the others who were involved in the bidding process.

“[Minister of Works Neko Grant]indicated about seven persons were invited to bid for the project and other contractors on the island that were qualified were upset because they didn’t even have the opportunity to bid,”he said.”Contractors that felt they would have been best suited for the job didn’t even make it past the tendering stage at the least.”

The need for a dock revamp was recognized by Grant, who indicated that it was a key component for growth on the island.

“This dock plays a pivotal role in the lives of the people of the Exumas,”Grant said at the time of the contract signing.”It serves as the main commercial port of cargo and passenger operations. As commercial activity has gained momentum and this island’s population has increased; the original dock along with the more recently built western dock can no longer adequately meet the needs of residents.”

Armbrister acknowledged that the dock project signaled that steps were being taken in the right direction, but he wants to see more developments continue to come on stream.

“Attention still has to be given to the other dock on the island and we want to see the mini-hospital make some progress,”he said.”The community welcomes the work that is being done and we would loveto continue to see more done in the future.”

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