The move to build a second cruise pier in St. Kitts just became on step closer with the St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority officially signing the contract with the Contractor’s the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and construction of the pair starting early next year and lasting for 18 Months.
The second pier will be constructed west of the current pier at Port Zante and just south of the marina at Port Zante. The new pier will be constructed by CCC who will also hire a number of local subcontractors to assist in getting the project over the line.
The second pier had been in the works since 2012 and has seen a number of delays that pushed back the construction date.
At a ceremony on Wednesday to SCASPA inked the agreement with CCC which is the Canadian government’s official contracting organization in business for over 70 years.
Luc Allary CCC Regional Director indicated that over the last few years they have developed a very strong partnership with SCASPA and with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“It has been a very dynamic, productive and interesting discussion…but now we are ready to execute that particular undertaking and I think we are going to move very fast it is an 18 month process that we hope to execute shortly as soon as we can organise in the upcoming weeks and months.”
Allary stated that the project is a great testimony of Canada’s engagement in the region.
“We have been doing projects in the region as an organization in several other markets. I think this is a very important project in terms of signalling the kind of work Canada and the Canadian government can provide using qualified, vetted Canadian contractors.”
Addressing the ceremony on behalf of the Canadian Government High Commissioner of Canada to St. Kitts and Nevis Her Excellency Marie Legault stated that this is an achievement of what the two governments have been working on for some time.
She added that Relations between Canada and St. Kitts and Nevis go back a really long time having been involved since the independence of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“For the last 34 years Canada has been involved in St. Kitts and Nevis on a number of fronts.”
She reminded that it was just in June that St. Kitts and Nevis opened a high commission in Canada in Ottawa.
“This is really a strong indication of our relationship that will continue. Other indicators are when Prime Minister Harris visited Ottawa meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and it was just recently he met with other Cabinet Ministers.
“The relationship is ongoing and we keep those strong ties.”
She however assured that the new pier that will be constructed will be a climate change resilient port facility noting that she has seen first-hand how the cruise ship pier has been destroyed in Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria.
“Our building team is assured to build a port that will be climate resilient so this would not happen in St. Kitts and Nevis in the future.
“This project is important for St. Kitts and Nevis as it provides a stimulus for the economy in St. Kitts and Nevis both in the construction as well as once it is completed.”
Minister with responsibility with SCASPA and Public Infrastructure Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd remained that discussions on the second cruise pier started in 2012 under the former administration. That project was expected to cost $32M USD.
He however indicated that those plans were not followed up upon citing varying potential issues with the designs that were prepared and the pulling out of one of the main stakeholders Jay Cashman, Inc.
He stated that upon taking office in 2015 the team Unity Government sought to address the matter as the Cabinet had determined that the second pier was necessary in the advancing of the cruise industry.
“Discussions were held with Bazarian International Financial Associates and CCC regarding this government to government arrangement.
“On November 12, 2015 and with the approval of Cabinet the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure signed a memorandum of understanding with CCC which provided government to government transaction for the development of public infrastructure. The second cruise pair was amongst the list of projects.
“Following the signing of the MOU and after its perusal by the board of SCASPA a resolution was then forwarded to the ministry therein supporting the proposal from the CCC for financing and construction of the second cruise pier.”
The government faced many criticism surrounding the cost of the pier with the current estimates indicating the pier would cost in excess of $40M USD up from the initial cost of $32M with Liburd defending the rationale for the increase.
“There has been much chatter about the increase in construction cost from US$32 million in 2012 to $43.2 million today. I wish to submit that the increase is justifiable.
“Firstly, five years have elapsed from 2012 to 2017, so no reasonable business mind can expect the cost to remain stagnant. The rationale behind the changing cost is well documented. There were many inefficiencies within the original designs cited in the review by a well-renowned engineering company.
“CH2 M. Hill citied the fact that dependent on the weather only one ship would have been able to berth at the pier, because of the imbedded rock on the starboard side.”
The construction is set to take 18 months and be ready for the 2019 cruise season. CCC officials have also indicated that they have factored in the threats of potential hurricanes into their construction time.