BT emergency centre shelved

Plans
for a $15 million combined police, fire and medical response facility in Bodden Town
drawn up by the previous government have been delayed indefinitely due
to a lack of available funding, the Caymanian Compass has learned

Construction
of the Bodden Town Emergency Response Centre was due to begin in 2008, but the
project never moved beyond site works and landscaping, which were required by
the Planning Department.

Officials
within the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs confirmed Wednesday that
there was no money for the continuation of that project in the
current budget year and that no funding would be included for its construction in
the upcoming 2010/11 budget year either. 

“The
Bodden Town Emergency Response Centre has been put on hold due to budget constraints,”
Portfolio Deputy Chief Officer Eric Bush said Wednesday. “At least for
this year and the next financial year the emergency response centre is not on
the radar.”

Mr.
Bush said tenders were advertised for construction of the facility some time
ago but a successful bidder was never chosen.

He
acknowledged that Bodden Town district, with the third largest population in Grand Cayman, is in need of a new police station and
improved fire and emergency medical coverage as well. He stressed that
government had not abandoned residents there and still intended to expand
its service to the area.

It
was noted during Wednesday’s meeting between local public safety officials and
the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce that
there had been tentative discussions with a private sector entity about building
a similar emergency centre – but in a different district.

“There
is talk with private sector individuals and companies to perhaps assist in
funding or donating land for a station in the George Town area,” Mr.
Bush said.

The
private sector companies involved in those talks were not identified. 

In
2007, the Bodden
Town emergency centre was
proposed to serve as the new headquarters for the Cayman Islands Fire
Service, as well as the new police station for the district and provide an additional
responder station for ambulance service. 

At
one point, a helipad for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s new
helicopter was envisioned. That helicopter has still not arrived in
Cayman, but authorities have said they expect its arrival within the next
two weeks. 

In
late 2007, the initial cost of the construction project was reduced and
government announced plans to build it in stages – putting off plans to house
the new cadet corps headquarters, an indoor firing range and the
RCIPS Traffic Management unit in the building as well. 

Construction
was never started. It was unclear how much was spent on site development for
the centre.  

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