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Capital Projects designed to further develop Bequia

Capital Projects designed to further develop Bequia

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Residents of the northern Grenadine Island of Bequia must undoubtedly be pleased that construction of a new clinic (Health Centre) costing a little over $750,000 has begun and is expected to be completed in early 2012, after which, an upgrade on the Port Elizabeth Hospital will commence.{{more}}

The architect providing the design for the new polyclinic is Aurin Bennett, while Contractor Brennan Frederick has been awarded the contract to construct the modern edifice. The funds for this phase of the project has been provided by the Caribbean Development Bank and administered under the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF). The CDB receives a substantial amount of funding for BNTF projects from the Canadian government through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The availability of potable water has always been an issue facing residents in the Grenadines, especially during the dry season, but the good news is that measures are already in place to avert a crisis. With funding from the European Union, wells were bored to explore for potable water. So far the best site drilled yielded positive results in Union Vale, and a modest quantity can be harvested on a daily basis. The only drawback with wells on small islands like Bequia is that the supply can be exhausted or significantly reduced if the dry season is prolonged.

Aware of the importance, but shortcoming of water sourced from wells, a pilot project with an emphasis on the adaptation to climate change will provide at least 20,000 gallons of water daily, using solar energy to offset electricity costs. This project, funded by the World Bank, is to the tune of US$1.2 million and is almost ready to be implemented. The reverse osmosis water desalination plant is already producing a good quality product, and the CWSA is now awaiting the arrival of a specially designed holding tank. This tank, placed strategically on a hillside, will feed water to consumers, further reducing the cost of this important element.

The entire roof of the SVG AIR hangar in Bequia has been used to place the solar panels capable of generating 120,000 Kilowatt hours per annum well over the 75,000 Kilowatt hours per annum required to run the desalination plant and pumps. The surplus electricity will be fed into the national electricity grid (in Bequia), offsetting any electricity costs which may arise.

Also nearing completion is a library and IT facility at Paget Farm. This project is financed by the Australian High Commission based in Trinidad. The cost to refurbish and retrofit the existing building is EC$95,000 and the facility is expected to be officially opened on October 20, 2011.

Also recently completed were a Farine Processing plant and the boring of a well at Gellizeau, close to the Bequia airport. Also nearing completion is the refurbishing of the Paget Farm Community Centre. The roof was replaced, a new stage built and thebuilding repainted.

Deputy Director of Grenadines Affairs Herman Belmar, the relentless warrior behind these projects, and former senior civil servant and Administrative Officer Sylvester Tannis both expressed satisfaction with the progress being made, especially the projects for providing potable water. They thanked all the regional and international agencies which have so far assisted the Government with the further development of the Bequia community. It is hoped that similar water projects will be implemented in Mayreau and Union Island.

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