NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (September 12, 2018) — Work on the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) water taxi pier project at Oualie Bay has been temporarily shelved, to allow the contractor to secure its equipment with the impending passage of Tropical Storm Isaac.
Hon. Alexis Jeffers made the announcement on September 10, 2018, at Oualie during a site visit of the project. He said work is expected to continue apace shortly when the equipment returns with additional prefabricated material for the project. The barge with drilling equipment and cranes, leaves Nevis on September 12, 2018.
“The contractors would have to go back to St. Maarten with this same barge, seeing that they have the equipment to lift the slabs up to put on the barge, to come back … It’s also a means of getting them out for the impending storm so we don’t have any damage to the work they have done so far.
“They are going back to St. Maarten, get their additional piles, get the additional slabs and be back here in short order to continue the work,” he said.
Mr. Jeffers expressed satisfaction with the EC $6million project so far, and what has been accomplished over the past few weeks. So far 200ft of the 300ft pier has been constructed. An additional 100ft and a “T” will be added when work resumes and the pier will be connected to the shore.
The minister explained that the NIA decided to construct a 300ft pier to adequately meet the long-term demands for the growing boating industry at Oualie.
“We think we are doing the right thing here because we have seen some increase in the amount of water taxis that are purchased or are owned by Nevisians. There is some robust business in that area for the various activities that take place between St. Kitts and Nevis or on both islands at different times.
“So we are gearing up for what we feel will be an industry that almost every Nevisian would be proud of when it’s all said and done because there is something in it for everyone. There is something in it for the boat owners. There is something in it for the local passengers who would use it. There is something in it for our visitors when they come as well,” he said.
Mr. Jeffers said the new pier would raise the standard and ensure safety and convenience for visitors and locals.
“We are solving some of the issues that have existed here over the past number of years. I am happy that we have been able to come in as an administration and taking this project on board, so as to ensure we have safety, reliability, security and all of the good things that are needed, to ensure that we can continue this upward path of development, including what is happening here at Oualie. That is all a part of the package when we think of development of an island,” he said.
The EC $6million project is financed by the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF). The Minister said so far US $3.8million has been used to purchase the property and US $402,000 for construction of 200ft of the pier. An additional US $6,035 will be used for the construction of the rest of the pier.
Mr. Jeffers used the opportunity to express satisfaction with the contractor Secure Marine Construction and their product so far. The St. Maarten-based company won the bid from among three who submitted bids for the project.
He also thanked his Cabinet colleagues for their support as well as members of the public, some of whom offered suggestions that were incorporated into the project, and for their positive sentiments regarding the project.