Maynard: Beautification of area impacted by fire has begun
Work on the beautification program in the area of Bay Street affected by Friday’s fire has already started, according to Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard.
The fire started around 3 a.m. on Friday morning and claimed Pompey Museum and the Old Nassau liquor store building. It also severely damaged other structures on the western side of Bay Street.
“The project for the creation of the garden where [the site of the old straw market] was is going to continue full speed ahead.”
“As you know there was a design for a park to complement the museum… On Friday afternoon the prime minister announced that we are going full speed ahead with that project, and if you pass there today you will see that it is now cordoned off,” Maynard said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
“Workmen have started from Friday evening, cleaning up and doing the necessary preparatory work to start the project. Meanwhile assessments have been done to the Pompey building and we expect that we are going to be able to restore that, and we are going to do so in a short space of time.”
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace shared similar sentiments to Maynard.
“As the prime minister promised, we are going to make certain that it [the burnt area] is not a blight until we get all of the site cleaned up, and you’ll see the boarding already put up,” he said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
“But the plans for [the area of the fire] are going to be rethought, recast and redeveloped because of… some of the damage the fire has caused.”
“We have a partnership with the private sector called the Downtown Nassau Partnership and we are designing that space where the tent was.
“The destruction of two buildings that were expected to remain on that site [means] it’s back to the drawing board in terms of the theme, and we have to work with the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation to see how and what changes we need to make in order to bring the same kind of impact and effect to that space.”
The fire did not prevent tourists from venturing out on Friday.
“We made certain on the day of the fire — we had five or six cruise ships in port — that we served notice to all of the passengers what had happened,” Vanderpool-Wallace said.
“There are a number of people, for example, that take that museum in by way of a walking tour and some of the other tours, and so we wanted to make sure they were notified immediately about that. It really didn’t have any kind of serious impact on what cruise passengers do.”
He continued, “The impact on the sector in terms of the offering of products and services really wasn’t that great, except for the substantial loss of Pompey Museum.”
Meantime, police and fire services personnel are also continuing their investigation into how the fire was started.
Sergent Anthony Sands of the Fire Services Unit responded to the fire Friday morning, and said that while the case has not been classified as arson, they haven’t ruled it out yet.
“There are still some things they [investigators] have to do before ruling that out,” he said yesterday.