NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (December 14, 2023)- Citizens and residents turned out in large numbers to a recent public consultation to hear from the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the project consultants, and give their input on the proposed expansion and upgrade of the Vance W. Amory International Airport.
The Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Special Advisor to the Premier of Nevis, chaired the meeting. He was accompanied at the head table by consultants on the project Mr. Leonardo Perez and Mrs. Lucy Perez of Perez Engineering Construction and Consulting Services Limited, and Mr. Dennis Kane, architect expert. The event was held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall.
“We are starting the process in terms of laying out what will be involved and over the next couple of months we should get to the end of the consultations and roll out a design to the Nevisian public,” Hon. Jeffers said, adding that the project would bring tangible benefits to the island and its people.
“What is envisioned for this project is that we’re hoping that with the development to come we will see an increase in airlift, we will see increase in employment, increase in investment, and we’ll also see the opportunity for Nevis to be showcased to the international community in that the connection to Nevis should be much easier.”
With an airport that can accommodate most private jets as well as mid-range business-class aircraft, Hon. Jeffers said the aim is to attract more tourists to the island for stay-over visits, which would augur well for industry stakeholders. Additionally, the Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority (NASPA) is expected to generate revenue from the fuel farm proposed to be constructed as part of the upgrade.
Mr. Perez outlined the scope of the work, informing that the runway will be extended from 4005 feet to 5500 feet to accommodate landing and take off of larger aircraft. He pointed out that all work done would take into consideration the impact on the environment, including improving the drainage system and safeguarding the surrounding coastline.
Mr. Kane explained the schematics of the upgrades to the terminal to accommodate the increased passenger traffic, as well as the reconstruction of the parking lot and Fire Hall.
Premier of Nevis the Honourable Mark Brantley and other members of the NIA Cabinet were also in attendance in the audience.
Leader of the opposition Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) Dr. Janice Daniel-Hodge, a member for the clergy, public servants, and landowners in the affected area were among attendees who asked questions relating to tendering for the project, passenger screening, land acquisition, timeline for completion, access to Lovers Beach for area fishermen and the implications for Hurricane Hill.
The Hon. Jeffers assured that fishermen would still be able to access the beach and thus continue to earn their livelihood. He went on to inform that while the government has already received a number of acceptance letters with regard land acquisition, that process is still ongoing.
The NIA intends to host a series of consultations, including one specific to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), before designs can be completed to move on to the next phase.
When completed the Vance W. Amory International Airport will have an upgraded terminal, taxi ways and control tower, as well as an expanded runway and apron, new fire station and will see the realignment of the island main road in vicinity of the airport.