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Matthias: Argyle airport needs another US$80m

Matthias: Argyle  airport needs another US$80m


CEO of the International Airport Development Committee Dr Rudy Matthias agrees that ‘every dollar counts’, but admitted that the airport project would need to see big bucks, if the construction phase is to remain on schedule.{{more}}

At Monday’s media tour of the airport, Matthias told SEARCHLIGHT that the ongoing ‘drop a dollar’ initiative was a welcomed effort, which, although it may not make a significant dent in what was needed to be raised, is highly appreciated by the IADC.

The CEO informed journalists earlier that the timely completion of the airport would depend heavily on the receipt of another US $80 million, of which $44 million has already been identified.

“We are working steadfastly to try to keep the project on time, but one thing that you would recognize now, is that us being on time depends on the rate at which we are able to raise the funding,” Matthias pointed out, when asked if the project is still set for an end of year completion.

“At the rate at which we are going, I believe that we can still substantially complete this airport by the end of this year, but I also feel certain that there are going to be some amount of work which remains to be done in the first quarter of 2014,” he added.

Producing a spreadsheet of outstanding areas that are in need of financing, Matthias pointed out that the control tower ($5,258,960) would be funded through a loan offer from a foreign bank which the government had approved, while three fire trucks and accessories would be funded by an international firm, and money has been allotted for the building of the fire station ($5,232,986.1).

“The fire and rescue and the control tower are critical installations before we can start the airport, so we first have to allocate whatever monies we have towards those things, because you can’t open the airport without the fire station or a control tower….”

He also indicated US $20 million had been sourced through land sales in Canouan.

Other areas that need to be funded include site acquisition (8,011,394.2), earthworks/site works ($10, 491,132.1), industrial area and paving equipment ($8,800,092.1), terminal building and substations ($7,510,334.4), fencing ($754,443.0) and landscaping ($294,453.2).

“You can see that some of this money needs to be had immediately, and some we need a bit later down in the year,” Matthias said.

Matthias told SEARCHLIGHT that the IADC encourages persons to continue making donations to the effort, noting that Vincentians are becoming more and more supportive of the project.

“We have gotten support from the Friends of the International Airport the New York chapter, and returning nationals, as well as major contributions from persons in the community.

“All of this signals to me that people are buying into the project. Somebody who gives a dollar is saying ‘we believe what we are doing is right; we believe that this is good for us; I want to contribute something to this,’” Matthias said.