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Hotelier bemoans bad review as noisy work resumes

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works Anthony McMaster (left) and hotelier Ian Smith

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works Anthony McMaster (left) and hotelier Ian Smith

Amid complaints that previous infrastructure works done at night had caused negative international reviews for one hotel and misery for many residents, the Ministry of Communication and Works yesterday promised to minimize any disturbance in the near future when it commences another phased project.

The upcoming project, according to the ministry, will include construction of drains, and resurfacing of the roadway that stretches between McNamara and Fort Burt Hotel, Road Town. It will also include the replacement of a sewage line that sometimes leaks near The Pub in the area.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the works ministry Jeremy Hodge told residents at a community meeting last evening that the project will tentatively start at 9:30pm, on a date yet to be determined.

Hodge, who promised further consultation, noted that the works ministry is mindful of the impact that the project will have on homes and hotels that are near the road between McNamara and Fort Burt.

“We are very mindful of overnight guests and persons who are trying to sleep during the night. You are going to have some machines working. We do plan to have the work done at night so we can minimize the disruption to those businesses and the traffic traversing the area,” added Hodge.

Entrance to Fort Burt Hotel

Entrance to Fort Burt Hotel

Meanwhile, Ian Smith, who operates Fort Burt Hotel, is wary of the challenges that may be faced.

He noted that his hotel received negative reviews in the past as a result of noise and other issues associated with public infrastructure projects.

Smith further explained: “We got a lot of negative reviews online and it impacted our business, and it’s gonna impact our business. We have to be mindful of that. When you get all these negative reviews, it is seen by hundreds of thousands of persons – might be millions because all the online partners see it.”

Responding to that claim by Smith, Coordinator of the National Sewerage Programme Alva Francis said the firm BiWater actually managed the past project about which concerns have been raised.

Francis added that a professional approach will be taken in relation to the upcoming Government project. “In this particular case, I am gonna be managing this project myself,” he assured residents.

Francis received support from his permanent secretary, McMaster, who stated that the works ministry has learnt lessons from the past.

“We learn from our past experiences, and I am quite familiar with the phone calls I received from Fort Burt Hotel [in the past] about the intrusiveness of the BiWater project. That is one of the reasons we are here [at a community meeting] because we don’t want to repeat that [BiWater] situation,” added McMaster.

Jeremy Hodge (left) and Alva Francis

Jeremy Hodge (left) and Alva Francis

In the meantime, McMaster said enough funds are available to prevent the project between McNamara and Fort Burt Hotel from being delayed due to a shortage of resources.

“What I can tell you is that this project is a loan-funded project. The money is basically sitting in the bank,” McMaster declared. “I don’t see this as a situation where the project should start this week and then next week you hear the contractor say he stop work because he didn’t get pay…”

McMaster further stated that the phase of works between McNmara and Fort Burt is part of a much bigger infrastructure programme.

“The [broader] plan is really to enhance the whole city (Road Town). The project actually goes from the roundabout up by Bobby’s supermarket down to the roundabout at Dolphin Discovery,” added McMaster.

His deputy, Hodge, said the funds being used on the project in the McNamara/Fort Burt Hotel area are part of a $16 million loan from the Social Security Board.

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