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Post office building to be imploded

The post office building on East Hill Street.

The post office building on East Hill Street.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE government will demolish the General Post Office at East Hill Street as part of efforts to modernise the downtown area, Transport and Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell said yesterday.

However, he could not say how much it will cost to renovate the new post office location on Gladstone Road or how long the work would take to finish.

He said he was satisfied costs would be reasonable, adding the property was a compulsory acquisition.

"The government is in the process of acquiring the Phil's building on Gladstone Road to be the new post office," he said, reiterating comments made by Press Secretary Anthony Newbold last week.

"The government had prior to that agreed that we will implode…blow up the present building that houses the post office. The plan is to design buildings that are modern 21st century so we have an opportunity to modernise the downtown area by building something on the property that is purpose-built."

Mr Campbell again referred the media to Works Minister Desmond Bannister. Mr Bannister did not respond to calls placed up to press time.

The Minnis administration halted plans left by the previous administration to convert the Independence Drive Shopping Centre off Tonique Williams Darling Highway as a temporary location while the East Hill location was restored, last year.

Mr Bannister said the project received the green light without approved plans or a building permit for construction, adding environmental and social assessments like traffic impact were also not conducted.

Yesterday, Official Opposition leader Philip Davis also questioned what will become of that "binding" private public partnership.

"We note with interest that the government intends to purchase a new post office," Mr Davis said.

"What are the details of this new arrangement, how much will it cost taxpayers to cancel existing arrangements on a Tonique Williams-Darling Highway structure, what is the cost of building and furnishing it?

"Is Gladstone Road the right location, what will happen to the old post office building? This decision to acquire a new building seems to fly in the face of a government who loves to complain about public waste on the one hand, then, by their actions, waste public funds usually without justifiable explanations."

Mr Davis said the former administration conducted several studies that determined the East Hill Street building was salvageable with remediation and restoration works. He explained the Christie-led government entered into a binding private public partnership agreement to convert the Independence Drive Shopping Centre off Tonique Williams Darling as a temporary location.

"I think it was in the neighbourhood of $5m or $6m," Mr Davis said of the PPP agreement.

"The government was committed to the deal," Mr Davis continued, "what this government has done we're not sure. If they cancelled (the agreement), that will come with some cost to the Bahamian people, we know that they stopped the work, we don't know whether they're going to continue or not. Whether they have completed their review of the work is another matter, whether they are going to cancel it is another matter."

Mr Campbell did not provide a timeline for works to be completed, but said yesterday the Bahamian public could be assured the project would be finished as soon as possible.

Comments

bogart 6 years, 3 months ago

Isn't Mr. DAVIS NOT A PART OF HER MAJESTYS LOYAL OPPOSITION,.....A PART OF THE GOVT RESPONSIBLE TO QUESTIONING THE GOVT EVERY MOVE.???..?.like an eagle eyed hawk? HE SHOULD BE QUESTIONING WHAT HAS BECOME OF HIS THEN GOVT CONTRACT IN the neighbourhood of 5 to 6 million binding PPP Agreement for the Independence Highway complex....And he should be questioning the price paid for the new Phils building ...and he should be questioning if the price paid was more or less than the previous govt of which he was DPM and cabinet minister paid the Bank of the Bahamas if it was a part of the Resolve purchase? These are obbvious questions the peoples Opposition Members and Her Majestys Queen Elizabeth II should be asking....in all fairness Mr Davis does have an impressive legal mind and can formulate excellent line of questioning.

John 6 years, 3 months ago

And herein lies a PROBLEM :

The plan is to design buildings that are modern 21st century so we have an opportunity to modernise the downtown area by building something on the property that is purpose-built."

. There are at least 12 or more buildings in the downtown area, commonly referred to s The Dirty Dozen, that the owners wanted to demolish and replace with modern buildings or other structures. They were told that these buildings had historical value and were protected and therefore could not be demolished. One such building stands in front of the former Betty K. property. Another was completely gutted and defaced on the outside, hopefully with the hopes that the owner would be allowed to tear it down, but it still stands. So the question is then, will the Revitalization of Bay Street and downtown encompass the restoration of old and historic buildings to maintain the Ole'Nassau experience, or will older buildings be scrapped for modern buildings changing the entire landscape of, at least Bay Street. then what is being done with the old City Markets building at the foot of the hill on Market Street? this building was purchased under the Ingraham government and efforts were underway to convrt it to an office complex when his government lost the Election.Then the Christie government came in and abandoned the project saying they would convert the building into a multistory complex.. it has sat idle ever since...or was the building purchased under the Christie government prior to Ingraham's second term? maybe it was because it was a PLP transaction.

K4C 6 years, 3 months ago

the Revitalization of Bay Street and downtown will resemble any other Caribbean resort place, all new shinny with not a touch of local or native character the Ole'Nassau experience is gone, as a former resident I don't see the Ole'Nassau experience just a decay of a one great tourist destination

TorontoGal 6 years, 3 months ago

Having been visiting The Bahamas and New Providence Island in particular since 1964 I can tell you Nassau has left the country!! What was once a beautiful island to visit is now an extension of Miami Beach, enormous hotels with not an ounce of culture or charm! The Straw Market is a mess! Woods Rodgers Walkway is filthy dirty! Bay Street is nothing but souvenir shops with a liquor store and a couple of high end shops just for show. Anything out of the ordinary, Dirty Dicks for one, long gone!

The prices of hotels and restaurants is astounding, I don't know how the average Bahamian can afford to even live there. Even the music is American or Jamaican, so hard to find good Bahamian of yesteryear.

Bahamian culture was tossed out with the trash!

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

You are correct .......... It is so sad that government and private sector have failed in revitalizing downtown Nassau ......... Start with building a new Parliament on East Hill Street (PO site) ........ and make the present Parliament a fabulous cultural and museum complex next to the cruise port.

truetruebahamian 6 years, 3 months ago

Gladstone Road is no place for a central post office. I doubt whether I could make a monthly trek down there to see an empty box. Farcical idea!

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

Are you confusing the General Post Office ..... and the Nassau PO?????? These are two different entities.

bogart 6 years, 3 months ago

What happens to the Gladstone rd post office when the garbage dump smokes them out at the first whiff of garbage dump smoke.??

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