Works Minister outlines Government’s agenda as it moves towards a World Class Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island

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Minister of Works Desmond Bannister speaks to the media yesterday outside of the Churchill Building about the recent power outages in Abaco.

Minister of Works, the Hon. Desmond Bannister announced infrastructural upgrades to improve delivery of services for Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, and Harbour Island at the 6th Eleuthera Business Outlook, April 26, 2018, at Valentine’s Resort and Marina in Harbour Island. Mr. Bannister revealed the government’s plans to assist in ‘creating a world-class Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells’ as the theme of the conference affirms. Minister Bannister said it is anticipated that the initiatives will foster growth and development in the tri-island community, and the private sector will take advantage of the opportunity to invest in the growth of the local economy. It is the intention of the Ministry of Works to provide world-class, reliable energy in an environmentally friendly way at the lowest cost to consumers, thereby ensuring that consumers are satisfied with the service they obtain.

Minister Bannister advised of the urgent short-term need for additional generation capacity for Harbour Island. “Issues of reliable electrical supply have plagued Harbour Island for more than thirty years,” said Minister Bannister. “We are focused on fixing them so as to facilitate and support the reliability of power supply and hence the efficiency of business operations on the Island.  So I can assure you that all is not lost.  Far from it.  In the short term, rental generation will be brought in to shore up the shortfall for this summer.   “In the long term, we will conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the cost of upgrading the North Feeder so as to determine whether to supply generation from the Hatchet Bay Power Station. We will also look at installing solar in North Eleuthera for daytime power, and rely on traditional generation for cloudy days and nights. This option will, of course, require us to run a submarine cable from the mainland to Harbour Island,” he said.

Adrian Gibson, chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), is currently compiling a report that will lead to changes in the way water is supplied to Family Island communities. Residents can anticipate a change in the quality of water delivered by the WSC and investment opportunities through public-private partnerships. Proposed infrastructural projects include road reconstruction between Gregory Town and the Glass Window Bridge, within the settlement of Spanish Wells and throughout North, Central, and South Eleuthera.

The following capital works by the Ministry of Works were outlined:

  • Extensive improvements to the Spanish Wells administration building, the Harbour Island Administration complex redevelopment project
  • Renovation and upgrade of the former Workers House Building, Governor’s Harbour
  • Facilitation of numerous sections of road repair
  • Construction of a new two-lane bridge to connect Spanish Wells and Russell Island
  • Improvements to the island’s school and educational system. Construction works on the North Eleuthera High School are almost completed. Preliminary works are also being carried out on the Harbour Island School.
  • Construction of primary and secondary new school facilities and relevant ancillary buildings at Harbour Island
  • Inspection and review of the structural repairs required for the Spanish Wells administration building; with a view to effecting the required improvements, or if necessary construct a new building
  • Requisite engineering studies for the Glass Window Bridge so that plans for a new bridge can commence.  $2 Million has been budgeted for this.
  • Improved docking facilities in Harbour Island.  $1.5 million has been budgeted for this
  • $14 million to build a new North Eleuthera airport
  • A Project Team is being commissioned to design a new administration complex at the existing Harbour Island administration building site

Minister Bannister described the Government’s agenda for these islands as “ambitious” and urged those in attendance to consider the investment opportunities provided.

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