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Diamond master plan, design for Arnos Vale

Diamond master plan, design for Arnos Vale

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The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is taking steps to ensure that once the international airport at Argyle is completed and the E.T. Joshua Airport at Arnos Vale is closed,{{more}} there will optimal development of the 63 acres of land on which the E.T. Joshua Airport sits.

To this end, a company, called the Arnos Vale Development Company Ltd. has been established, and the Canadian firm of Diamond and Schmitt Architects has been retained by National Properties Ltd to develop a high level land use and urban design master plan for the Arnos Vale site.

Speaking at a symposium on the Argyle International Airport on Tuesday, November 8, at the National Insurance Services Conference Room, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the Arnos Vale Development Company Ltd will be staffed in the New Year to “actively pursue the development of Arnos Vale.”

Additionally, once the Master Plan, which should be completed by June 2012, is received, government will be able to go ahead and pre-sell the land on which the E.T. Joshua airport sits.

The Prime Minister said without the Master Plan, development at Arnos Vale will take place haphazardly, there will not be optimal use of the land for development purposes, and government will not get a premium price for the land. He explained that the money derived from the sale of the land will be used to develop both the Arnos Vale and Argyle sites.

“If that deadline [June 12, 2012] is met, it means that we would

be on the market to sell, and you will have to wait on us until we do the development because you understand what we are doing.

But we are going to get money both to develop there, and also

to help with the Argyle International Airport,” the Prime Minister said.

Diamond and Schmitt Architects will be expected to deliver a

market assessment; civil engineering findings on such matters as: storm drainage, storm water management; waste water collection, treatment and disposal; water supply treatment and distribution; the availability and internal routing of utilities; the delivery of the findings of a study of future portal traffic conditions and needs.

The Prime Minister said the main partner in Diamond and Schmitt Architects is Jack Diamond, who owns a home in Mustique, and is, therefore, someone the government knows.

“He is a homeowner in Mustique, and, therefore, somebody whom we know, and we can work with him, and we leverage, as practical men and women the resources which are at hand, because Jack Diamond is also a resource for us.”

The Prime Minister described Diamond as a “very distinguised gentleman in his country”, who has received the Order of Canada (OC), Canada’s highest honour. Diamond is also the founding director of the Master of Architecture programme at the University of Toronto, and is currently engaged in the design of the Mariinsky Theatre New Opera in St. Petersburg, Russia, among other projects.

According to Gonsalves, Diamond is “very impressed with the work which we are doing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; very amazed about the progress we are making in this country,” and will, therefore, provide his own professional services in the preparation of the Master Plan, free of charge. However, other specialist professional services, which will be sub-contracted by his company, will have to be paid for.

One of these sub-contractors is Brown and Company from England. The Prime Minister disclosed that already that company has already submitted a provisional market assessment report, which suggests possible uses to which the Arnos Vale land may be put.

The suggestions include a cruise line boarding point or a tourist ferry port and perhaps a sea front board walk and a marina; high quality shopping mall facilities along the lines of Rodney Bay in St. Lucia; other retail development concepts and multiplex cinemas; good quality government offices and or a modern new hospital; high value apartment and condominus; a major quailty hotel; parking facilities, possibly serving Kingstown as well.

He also said the Master Plan will include a traffic study to determine how connections between Arnos Vale and Kingstown could be improved. There are three options which are being looked at, Gonsalves said.

“Improving the road over Sion Hill; constructing a tunnel, less than 1,000 metres at its shortest under Cane Garden; and or constructing a road around the Cane Garden headland. So the different options, together or separately,” he said.

The Prime Minister said a payment has already been made to Diamond and Schmitt Architects, with a balance remaining while the work is going on.

Tuesday’s symposium was held to bring government officials, members of the private sector and the public up to date on the progress being made on the construction of the Argyle International Airport.

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