Speaking on Friday [Nov.25] in the House of Assembly, Sport Minister Glenn Blakeney said over $8 million has been spent on the Aquatic Centre thus far, out of the estimated total cost of approximately $18 – 19 million.
Minister Blakeney said ground was broken in November 2010, and progress to date has seen “several key milestones achieved.” Site clearing and excavation, foundation works, electrical and mechanical substructures, pool side walls, and mechanical building were all completed by September 2011.
The project is “expected to be fully completed by September 2012, on time and within budget,” said the Minister.
The project has employed both Bermudians and non-Bermudians since its inception, and at the present time, the ratio between foreign workers and Bermudians is 50/50, for a total workforce of 26.
The Minister’s full statement follows below:
Mr. Speaker, I wish to update this Honourable House on the progress of the National Sports Centre Aquatic Centre project.
Mr. Speaker, ground was broken in November 2010 to start construction of the National Sports Centre Aquatic Centre.The aquatic centre project entails the construction of an 8-lane 50 meter pool with moveable bulkhead and dive tower; a one-storey building to house mechanical, electrical and pool equipment; as well as installation of modular temporary structures to serve as administrative areas.
Mr. Speaker, in 2008, the NSC board of trustees were directed to focus on completion of the aquatic centre. Design work ensued throughout 2009 and 2010, resulting in an estimated cost of approximately $18 – 19 million to complete the aquatic centre. Since November 2010, over $8.0 million has been spent to advance the project.
Mr. Speaker, progress to date has seen several key milestones achieved. Site clearing and excavation, foundation works, electrical and mechanical substructures, pool side walls, and mechanical building were all completed by September 2011.
Based on the current schedule, the project is expected to be fully completed by September 2012, on time and within budget.
Mr. Speaker, the project has employed both Bermudians and non-Bermudians since its inception. As at November 1st 2011, there were 22 persons (9 Bermudian and 13 non-Bermudian) employed by the NSC board of trustees as follows:
• 3 specialist carpentry foremen (non-Bermudian)
• 11 carpenters (7 non-Bermudian and 4 Bermudian)
• 3 concrete finishers (non-b=Bermudian)
• 1 mason (Bermudian)
• 1 rebar installer (Bermudian)
• 3 skilled labourers (Bermudian)
Mr. Speaker, since November 2011, the NSC board of trustees has advertised and hired four (4) additional Bermudian workers as follows: 2 skilled labourers, 1 carpenter and 1 mason. At the present time, the ratio between foreign workers and Bermudians is 50/50, for a total workforce of 26.
Mr. Speaker, a total of 8 employees has been terminated from employment at the site to date. This consists of:
• 2 non-Bermudian concrete finishers (terminated for cause)
• 2 Bermudian carpenters (terminated for cause)
• 1 Bermudian carpenter (resigned for personal reasons),
• 1 Bermudian mason (who was suffering from poor health)
• 1 Bermudian skilled labourer (worked for 4 months, went on vacation and never returned to site)
• 1 Bermudian rebar installer (who was not confirmed in his position during probation).
Mr. Speaker, some Honourable Members may enquire as to why it was necessary to hire foreign workers for this project, especially at a time when many Bermudian construction workers are out of work. Let me explain.
Mr. Speaker, the Aquatic Centre project is a specialized project that has never been done in Bermuda before. This will be the first olympic-sized pool built in Bermuda.
As such, the plumbing, mechanical and filtration systems are unique, given the very large volume of water required to be handled (881,000 us gallons). The National Sports Centre board of trustees had to ensure that there were some workers involved with the project who had experience in building a fina-certified swimming pool.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members may know that the acronym “FINA” stands for Federation Internationale de Natation, the world governing body for the five aquatic disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming).
FINA’s certification requirements are very stringent, and thus the decision was taken by the trustees to ensure that workers experienced in constructing a swimming pool to be FINA-certified were employed on the Aquatic Centre project.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide this brief update on the Aquatic Centre project, and I intend to provide further updates to this Honourable House as development proceeds.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker!
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