Grange hoping to see the back of Stadium renovation stalemate
SPORTS MINISTER Olivia Grange says she hopes that proposed renovations for the National Stadium will come closer to fruition after much-documented delays. The project was targeted for a 2021 start, with a proposal completed by consultants hired by...
SPORTS MINISTER Olivia Grange says she hopes that proposed renovations for the National Stadium will come closer to fruition after much-documented delays.
The project was targeted for a 2021 start, with a proposal completed by consultants hired by the Public Investment Management Secretariat (PIMSEC). Delays pushed back the start of the project, with Independence Park Limited (IPL) chairman Mike Fennell in a Gleaner interview on December 29, 2021, saying that the delay was to satisfy the “normal requirements” for such capital-expenditure projects.
The project has since stalled, with IPL general manager Major Desmond Brown last August saying that the Ministry of Finance and Public Service needed “detailed drawings and detailed bills of quantities and costing”.
Grange said that in her latest discussions with Finance Minister Nigel Clarke that she had been tasked to identify someone who would be able to take the project forward for final approval so that work could begin. While not giving a timeline, Grange said that the ministry is hoping that significant progress would be made this year.
“We are still a little way off, but I think that this year, there will be some tangible movements towards the expansion. He [Clarke] has indicated to me that we should hire someone who will actually take the planning to the next stage so that PIMSEC and the Ministry of Finance can provide the funding based on all the other things that we have to put together,” Grange told The Gleaner.
“He has indicated that we should identify the skills that will be required to complete putting the project together for funding.”
It is a project that has been in the works since 2019 when Apec Consultants conducted research on behalf of the Government.
Approximately US$76 million ($11.6 billion) is projected to be spent on the project, which is being done under the Jamaica 60 Legacy Programme.
Brown said the stadium no longer met international standards, making the upgrades necessary.
World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe said that any bids for Jamaica to host a major international championship would be dependent on the completion of the project.
While cognizant of the delays in getting the approval, Grange is hoping that the progress will be fast-tracked in 2023.
“It’s an involved process because it’s a lot of money. There are certain requirements. You have to do a business plan and a marketing plan. You have to do certain research. So it is a tedious process, and it takes long. But once all of that is completed, then we can put shovels in the ground,” Grange said.