By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
After months of renovations, SOL’s Wickhams Cay service station will once again open its doors to serve the public.
General Manager at SOL BVI Rufino Lin told BVI News on Wednesday that the structure was badly in need of repairs following the significant damage it sustained during the 2017 hurricanes.
He explained that despite being able to restore some level of service after the hurricanes, the impact was felt all around.
“The canopy was severely damaged, it lost all its roofing and panelling, all the signage we had was gone, our dispensers were destroyed, and we had to replace them, and we managed to do that and maintained the minimum for the operation to continue,” he said.
He continued, “So overall the biggest impact was on the dispensers and the canopy which shelters you from the rain and sun. There was a lot of planning around what to do, insurance claims to process, and the fact that we needed to continue our service to the community.”
While not divulging the impact to their financial bottom line, Lin said they were only able to operate during the day as opposed to night-and-day services as they did before the disasters.
The repair project costs just under $1 million commenced early August.
“The idea is for us to restore the image of the company,” Lin said.
“We plan to reopen the site in the next week or two. As you can see from the outside, it is coming to a close. We are glad to be able to present to the community a restored service station, we have waited long for it,” he added.
Other stations also impacted
In the meantime, SOL’s Botanic Station and Virgin Gorda branch were also affected by the 2017 weather events and will also receive attention, Lin said.
“They all suffered varying levels of impact by Irma. The most severe I think was at the Botanic Station, which we have a project that was just started to reconstruct completely,” he said.
“It will be what we call a knock-down-rebuild. It will be a bigger site, more space for traffic; there will be a new store to the back, fresh equipment inside and all the signage will be new. It is going to be our flagship service station, and we are looking forward to that, and it will be completed by the end of March or April thereabout,” he told BVI News.
Work started on that site roughly two weeks ago, and it is currently out of commission. Notably, the building will be pushed further inland on the existing property to accommodate the upgrades, he said.
Meanwhile, the Virgin Gorda branch received the least damage and will be the final station to undergo renovations.
Lin explained that as soon as the reconstruction at the Botanic Station is complete, the Virgin Gorda location will be next in line.
“I am hoping that by the end of June that we will have the three stations completely up and running and fully restored; offering our constant quality products to the community,” he said.
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