Chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Kelvin Charles is assuring Tobago residents affected by the construction of a new terminal building and associated works at the ANR Robinson International Airport that the THA will provide support to ensure the smoothest possible transition.
The second stakeholder consultation was held by the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) at the Rovanel’s Resort where it was reiterated that the project will require the compulsory acquisition of 53 acres of land in the vicinity of the airport and this will affect property owners in the designated area.
He said the THA fully understands the social, financial and economic implications the relocation process will have on residents, and as such, he wants to ensure this impact is minimised as much as possible.
He said, “As an assembly, we have been proactive in our efforts to make the process more manageable and in that regard we set up an Airport Relocation Committee. The residents affected will be provided with the option for land in three different categories—residential, commercial/residential and agricultural—along with the required infrastructure (utilities), at a reduced cost.”
The Airport Relocation Committee, chaired by Allan Richards, has identified 12.5 acres of residential plots at Shirvan Road, near to the Shirvan Road Police Station, to cater to those with residential needs only.
Those with commercial interests seeking to re-establish their businesses will be facilitated at Cove Estate on 30 acres of ultra-prime lands.
While lands at Courland have been identified for those wishing to engage in agriculture.
Following compensation for properties, residents will have the option of selecting from available lots on a first come, first serve basis.
Additionally, residents will also have the option of securing property through private purchase.
Further to this, the Shirvan residential location will also provide close access to amenities, such as supermarkets, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres and primary schools, shopping plazas and gas stations. Residents will have the benefit of underground utilities, as well as assistance with statutory approvals for building plans.
Charles said the priority for the THA is ensuring that the community remains together.
“It will be of comfort to residents that they can maintain proximity and close ties with their existing neighbours even as this transition occurs. We are committed to doing that as far as it is within our capacity,” he added.
The consultation addressed the following areas regarding the project:
· Presentation of the Land Acquistion Policy
· Impact of the main works of the project on community
(Construction of a new terminal building, construction of a new car park, airside infrastructure)