The Mosquito Research and Control Unit is nearing completion of a new hangar that has been under construction for some time now at Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman.
Bill Petrie, director of the mosquito research and control programme in the Cayman Islands, spoke with the Caymanian Compass about the pending project.
“The shell of the building is now complete, as well as the pesticide storage,” he said. “However, the structure has not yet been fitted out and the finishing and parking lot will not be done in time for the hurricane season,” which officially begins in June.
Mr. Petrie said the mosquito plane could be placed in the facility if necessary. The plane would otherwise have to be placed along the road on Bobby Thompson Way in George Town, which has traditionally been where it has been kept during storms.
The director pointed out that when Hurricane Season begins 1 June, the mosquito programme, will have to put some fill down to act as a ramp for the aircraft to go into the hangar.
The project had previously been stalled after issues relating to the initial contractor, Hadsphaltic Ltd, going bankrupt, causing the Cayman Islands government to cancel the nearly CI$4 million contract on 7 August, 2010. The contract was re-tendered and awarded to Edgewater Development Ltd.
The government is still seeking to claim the mobilisation fee paid to that company, which is about $400,000 or roughly 10 per cent of the initial contract.
According to government officials in the Ministry of District Administration, discussions about the matter and potential litigation are ongoing.
Mr. Petrie said the cost of the total project should be about $5 million.
The 12,400-square-foot hangar is meant to be an all-purpose facility that would house aircraft, a workshop, paint shop, offices and bonded storage, which is important for aircraft parts, Mr. Petrie said.
The plan is for there to be a standalone pesticide storage and a mixing plant, a loading area for the plane, as well as a collection pan to stop any contamination from toxic chemicals. It will be hurricane-rated and protect the planes and generators, he said.
The facility will replace the old hangar, which was condemned after sustaining heavy damage during Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.