Airport upgrade workers donate to food bank

Front row, from left, Island Paving Director Barry Bodden, Cayman Food Bank Operations Manager Phillip Hyre, project team member David Ballantyne, Cayman Food Bank Fundraising Director Naomi Law, Cayman Food Bank Board Member Marie Eden, and Project Manager Noel Knapp, surrounded by members of the airfield upgrade project team. - Photo: Submitted

Workers upgrading the airfield at the Owen Roberts International Airport have donated $6,000 to the Cayman Food Bank in support of its COVID-19 relief efforts.

The staff work at the joint venture consortium comprised of Island Paving Ltd., Decco and IDL Projects.

Island Paving Director Barry Bodden said the idea originated with the project teams themselves who fundraised $3,000.

“When we heard what the teams were doing, the joint venture committed to matching their efforts for a total donation of CI$6,000,” he said in a press release. “We know there are many people in our community going through difficult times and relying on charities like the Food Bank to put food on the table. As we continue to work to upgrade the airfield in preparation for better days, the team wanted to make a difference to those in need now.”

Identified by the Cayman Islands government as a priority project, works at the airfield upgrade project at the Owen Roberts International Airport were granted exemption status, and the staff and management received early training on all relevant safety protocols and public health guidance.

Project team member David Ballantyne said that knowing their employment was secure prompted the team to help others less fortunate.

“We were talking one night and just decided to do something as we were still working and a lot of people weren’t in the same situation,” Ballantyne said. “We had heard about the Food Bank so we asked if anyone would be interested in donating and we collected the funds over a three-week period.”

Cayman Food Bank Fundraising Director Naomi Law said the project team’s donation will go a long way in supporting the community during this time of need.

“These funds will allow the Cayman Food Bank to provide multi-day food and supply packages for over 700 people per week, many of whom are experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “The Cayman Food Bank is extremely grateful for this generous donation from the Island Paving, DECCO, IDL Projects joint venture, which will allow us to continue making a difference in the lives of people and families in need.”

The $30 million upgrade project announced by the Cayman Islands Government last October includes milling and repaving the existing runway surface, extending the runway, extending the apron, filling the ponds within the airfield perimeter, establishing a robust airfield perimeter road and expanding the aircraft parking ramp to ensure the Cayman Islands is able to accommodate growth in air arrivals now and in future years.

Bodden says the runway overlay and reinforcing works are close to completion, and work progresses steadily on other areas of the project including the runway extension and turn around, the apron expansion, and construction of the perimeter road, among others.

“Over the past few months, our project team has continued working diligently to complete these important upgrades to the airfield,” he said. “We look forward to the future when our borders can safely reopen, and visitors can touch down on our upgraded runway.”

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