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Neita-Headley hopes for solar-powered NISC

Published:Friday | October 31, 2014 | 10:00 AM
Neita-Headley

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Natalie Neita-Headley, minister with responsibility for sports, is moving to transform the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC) into a fully solar-powered facility, in order to reduce the venue's electricity costs.

Neita-Headley told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday that one of her main goals was to see one of the country's most prestigious sporting facilities being fitted to utilise more efficient and environmentally friendly sources of energy.

The NISC, which is located adjacent to the National Stadium, was built in 2003 to stage the World Netball Championships.

"It is my dream and my wish to see the National Indoor Sports Centre become cost-effective in terms of energy," said Neita-Headley. "That is a campaign that I would like to see corporate Jamaica partnered with us in ensuring that we can offer the Indoor Sports Centre at a reduced cost, because one of the most prohibitive costs is that of energy," Neita-Headley said.

"The sports council will be moving towards determining how best we can embark on this process. Assessments will have to be done on how much it is going to cost to get us there, but it is something that I believe that we will all want to see and how the process begins and how we get there," she said.

Associations complaining

A number of sporting associations have been complaining for many years about the high rental cost of the facility. These associations include Netball Jamaica, which uses the facility whenever the Sunshine Girls are hosting an international series, as well as the Jamaica Basketball Association.

Neita-Headley said that with a new solar system in place, it will cost the various associations a lot less in rental expenses.

She said it will also help to improve the athletes' performances on the international stage, because they will have more opportunities to practise in a world-class facility.

"It certainly will help the sporting associations, it will help the organisations, and it will help the sports product. It will allow them (athletes) to practise on that kind of world-class facility which will give them better preparations for international events," said Neita-Headley.

However, the minister warned that it will take some time for this to become a reality.

"It is at the baby stages and so the timeline now is to ensure that our infrastructure committee and the sports council move on this process of doing the assessments and doing a launch of a campaign to, of course, make it happen," she added.