By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The Disaster Reconstruction Authority's (DRA) deputy chairman yesterday said some $35m has been invested to-date in restoring Abaco's electricity supply and international airport post-Dorian.
Algernon Cargill, who is also the Government's director of aviation, told the Abaco Business Outlook webinar that $30m has been spent on rebuilding BPL's infrastructure with another $5m going to the redevelopment of Marsh Harbour's Leonard Thompson International Airport.
“We have invested $5m in the airport," he said. "Some of the major works completed include the air conditioning, which was a $500,000 project. We have signed a contract to conduct renovations to the building. Treasure Cay airport will be demolished and will be turned into a fixed base operation (FBO). There is a need to close the Treasure Cay airport.
“It is our goal to get the [Marsh Harbour] airport better than what it was before, and we are working on a new conveyor belt and other facilities to improve the airport. Marsh Harbour’s airport was our second busiest airport prior to Hurricane Dorian. We are very happy with the plans we have in place in conjunction with the government, the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) and the DRA.”
“We are also talking to companies to develop a RFP (request for proposal) for a PPP (public-private partnership) in order to convert Marsh Harbour airport. This is on the top of our agenda.”
Turned to post-Dorian debris removal, Mr Cargill said the DRA has moved some three million cubic yards of refuse - an operation that “has provided a significant contribution to the Abaco economy".
Some $1.6m has been spent to-date on debris management, and another $2.16m on community clean up. “Incineration exercises will continue as a way for debris removal. An RFP is in development for a landfill,” Mr Cargill said. For debris that cannot be used or recycled, the DRA wants to find a way to dispose of what it cannot use.
He added that the Government has approved some 1,178 home owners for the Dorian small homes repair initiative, and spent $3.99m to-date on construction material purchase orders and a further $1.52m in allocations for approved residential proprietors.
“A solar street lighting project is being conducted in partnership with Food for the Poor NGO (non-governmental organisation), in conjunction with BPL, and this will get underway shortly. The lights have been procured and this project is very imminent," Mr Cargill said.
“We are establishing P3 (PPP) partnerships with restoring commerce, with a salvage yard, temporary housing, a community centre and subdivision development."
Describing housing as a “critical priority” in Hurricane Dorian's wake, Mr Cargill pointed to the construction of 46 permanent homes in Central Pines that are being funded via private donations. He added that the Government is providing the land, and said: “Design and development of a mixed-use residential facility to be used as a community centre is underway. We have gotten global support for this facility.
"In Central Pines we are creating two 60-acre mixed-use residential lots. These lots will be good-sized properties for Abaconians, and a meeting this week will be finalised with the donor and the contractor to get the project off the ground.”