PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, October 7, 2015 – Sport and Youth Affairs Minister Darryl Smith recently toured three of the national sporting facilities with Permanent Secretary Gillian Macintyre as well as staff from the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister Smith and the contingent spent just over five hours doing a comprehensive walk-through of the facilities currently under construction. These are the Aquatic Centre and Cycling Velodrome in Couva and the Tennis Centre in Tacarigua.
During the tour, Minister Smith identified his priorities regarding the facilities, as follows:
1) Development of comprehensive plans and policies for the proper maintenance, management and upkeep of the three facilities.
The Minister noted that in the past, several facilities and buildings were commissioned but soon needed substantial refurbishment due to inadequate preventative maintenance management.
2) A proper usage policy for national and elite level athletes. The facilities were built for the nation’s athletes to have a viable option to train at home for international competition. The Minister felt that it was important that all the necessary athletic amenities were also readily available to allow local athletes a full cadre of support services that would complement their competitive exploits. Among those support services identified by the Minister while in discussion with Sports Company personnel included, strength and conditioning, sports psychology, reflexology, massage therapy, performance testing, sports medicine and injury prevention.
3) Capacity building for the National Sporting Organisations with an emphasis on increased levels of participation in their respective sports. Minister Smith emphasised the need for baseline data (participation, demographics, frequency, access, etc.) across all sports, which should lead to better decision-making about investments of state funds and the continued sustainable development of each discipline. Minister Smith added that with the completion of the facilities, the sporting bodies must play their part in achieving greater participation, accreditation, volunteerism and spectatorship for their sport.
4) Maximisation of the revenue potential of the new facilities is key to their sustainable operation. The Minister has commissioned a full review of all the rates and user policies across all of the facilities under the purview of the Ministry of Sport & Youth Affairs and the Sports Company. While all of the facilities have a role to play in providing for the needs of athletes at all levels, attention must also be focused on income generation in order to ensure the citizen sees an economic return on the millions invested, and that the facilities can achieve self-sustainability.
5) All of the facilities are outfitted with modern, eco-friendly equipment and systems. The facilities’ operational procedures and policies must also prioritise energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint.
The three projects were conceptualised in 2007 and were officially commenced in 2009 when international project management consulting firm Pix International Holdings was commissioned by the Sports Company to develop the terms and reference, scope of work and tendering and evaluation process.
The contract was tendered in 2009 and following a full evaluation of all the bids, the Shanghai Construction Group was identified as the preferred contractor and was awarded in 2011.
The facilities are still in the final stages of construction and are expected to be fully operational early next year. They will be managed by the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago, the implementation agency of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.