(Photo Credit: Sherine Williams/BVI Platinum News)
With the Sir Rupert Briercliffe Hall damaged, the Multipurpose Sports Complex is the main centrally located public event venue. Unfortunately, the humidity issue caused by the lack of a properly working air conditioning unit has made the building difficult to use for extended periods. In fact, this issue which has been persisting because of damages from the hurricanes of 2017, has caused the management of the facility to use rental equipment to cool the building when events are held there.
This inconveniencing factor was raised by Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Marlon Penn during the questions and answers segment of the July 31 House of Assembly sitting.
Hon. Penn, through his questions, sought answers from the Minister responsible regarding plans to remedy the cooling situation and the cost associated.
In response, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture (MECYAF&A), Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley explained that his Ministry is awaiting funds from the upcoming budget in order to rectify the air conditioning issue that has been plaguing the Multipurpose Sports Complex for almost two years.
“Currently, no repairs have been done to the air conditioning system. The single unit which was working prior to the passage of the hurricanes was brought back online to facilitate the First Sitting of the House after the most recent elections, but failed to work two days after,” Hon. Wheatley disclosed.
Further, the Minister said that he was unable to tell the House of Assembly what the cost was going to be to fix the issue because government was told that it would be better to get a new AC system.
“At this present time, the MECYAF&A is unable to provide a costing for the repairs to the air conditioning system, and we have been advised by the original vendor that the system would be better replaced than repaired due to the extent of the damage. I have made a request for the replacement of the AC in the upcoming budget,” Hon. Wheatley told the House of Assembly.
He also disclosed that the Ministry is currently renting a chiller/air condition unit for the Multipurpose Sport Complex in the amount of $40,000 for a period of two months in the first instance from May 25 to July 25, and an additional two weeks up to August 8 at the cost of $9,500 to cover the Miss BVI Pageant.
“Mister Speaker, Petty Contract MEC32P/2019 was awarded to Quality Air and Refrigeration. Renting this A/C system was unavoidable because it would have been impossible to host the dozens of events that were hosted in the Multipurpose Complex, including the cheerleading competition for primary and secondary schools, the HLSCC College graduation, the Althea Scatliffe Primary School and the Elmore Stoutt High School graduations, the Gen Y factor, Summer Sizzle, the Prince and Princess Show, the VIBE release party, among other events. I would say this is value for money to the tax payers,” the Minister stated.
Additionally, Hon. Wheatley said that Government is enquiring into the cost of replacing the unit, however he noted that there is a timeframe involved because such units are usually built to order.