CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — As work resumes on construction of the new water taxi pier at Oualie Bay, with a new completion date of less than a month and a longer wharf, water taxi operators are happy about the project.
Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis and Area representative for the St. James’ Parish, announced while visiting the pier on Jan. 29 he was satisfied that previous challenges with the project had come to an end and work is expected to be completed within three to four weeks.
“I am pleased to say that we have overcome those challenges at this point in time,” commented Jeffers. “There were also challenges with the mobilisation out of St. Maarten to come back here to Nevis…The barge is now here. The workers are here and they are ready to push on with the final phase. Just about 180 feet of pier has been constructed so far…
“As a Cabinet we have decided that with the anticipated increase in traffic through this particular facility…with the addition of 120 feet, we will end up with just about 316 feet of pier with the “T” at the end of the 300 feet. So we are preparing for what is to come in the future,” he said.
Jeffers noted that the additional length would increase the cost and the Administration has made provisions for the additional work.
“The initial cost was just over $400,000 on the 196 feet of pier but with the addition, to break it down… you would end up with a little over $596,000… for 316 feet of actual pier,” he said.
After the pier is completed, renovation work will commence on the existing building on the site which is slated to accommodate office space.
“It’s a phased approach and it is important to get the pier in first, based on the finance that we had at our disposal, but we have certainly budgeted for this particular renovation in this budget cycle so we will get that started shortly.
“The entire property will be fenced to provide additional security as is consistent with Charlestown [Sea Port] and also the Long Point [Port] facility because we are hoping to operate at the same level of security that exists at those particular facilities,” said Jeffers. “That is mandatory for us to ensure that we are providing safety and security to all of the persons that would utilise this area and also adhere to international standards when it comes to port facilities,” he said.
Water taxi operators satisfied
Jeffers said water taxi owners who ply their trade at Oualie Bay have expressed satisfaction with the decision to construct a pier for their benefit.
“Persons who are currently plying their trade out of Oualie Beach at the older facility have expressed their pleasure in seeing the workers and the barge being brought back to Nevis to complete this new facility…
“Most of the operators are looking forward to the completion of this facility because they themselves see this as an improvement in the berthing of their craft which in most cases cost a lot of money, and because of that this new pier will provide that level of comfort, that level of security, and that level of ease in terms of docking in the future.”
The Deputy Premier, who is also the Area Representative for the St. James’ Parish noted that the existing pier in use by the operators is in a state of disrepair and poses some safety issues for persons using the facility, since it had suffered some damages from previous hurricane seasons.
Jeffers said although boat operators support the project, he believes that on completion, if any apprehension exists, over time they will see the wisdom and vision behind the project in terms of bringing an upgrade to what they would have been accustomed to.