BVI News

Trellis Bay businesses could see increased economic activity with airport expansion

Chief Planner Greg Adams

Chief Planner at the Town & Country Planning Department Greg Adams has said the neighbouring business community in Trellis Bay will not be required to relocate to facilitate the runway extension project at the TB Lettsome International Airport. In contrast, those businesses could experience spin-off benefits from the multimillion-dollar project, he said.

Adams said the economic activity in the area could increase based on the projected volume of passengers expected to fly directly to the territory from international hubs.

“There are the pros and the cons – the noise is one thing, but the potential business is another thing. So there is a balance and a trade-off that we have to measure not just with this project but any sort of economic activity that comes under development,” Adams said.

“Does it (the project) limit some of the activity? You could argue that it does. But a lot of the businesses that are there can still continue to function. This alignment does not interfere with any property that is on Trellis Bay. It doesn’t encroach on them, it doesn’t push them out, it doesn’t take anybody’s property. This alignment goes out into the sea, so it doesn’t take away anybody’s livelihood,” he added.

Project to affect harbour

On the downside, Adams said the harbour in the area would be affected to some extent.

He explained that this is because the extended runway would protrude off the mouth of the harbour.

“But the harbour would be still viable for the boats to moor, and [will still continue] some of the economic activities we have now. So it doesn’t condemn the harbour outright,” he told BVI News following a recent public meeting on the project.

The Chief Planner said designs for the project includes installing what are known as hydraulic culverts under the runway. These culverts would facilitate water movement in the area.

“It (the water) doesn’t just cut it off,” he noted.

Adams said while there are those who are for and against the project, certain “critical decisions are yet to be made on the project”. These decisions, Adams said, would strike a good balance between what is important to supporters of the project and also that of detractors.

The project is estimated to cost some $250 million. Roughly $153 million of that sum will be used to extend the runway from 4,645 feet to about 7,100 feet so larger aircraft can land in the territory. The remaining funds are projected to go towards the development of the airport’s terminal building.

The project involves recruiting investors to develop and operate the airport for 20 to 30 years before returning control to the central government. In October of last year, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said there would be progress on the project before he demits office.

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31 Comments

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  1. Hmmmm says:

    Having recently relocated to BVI I’m keen to see projects actioned that will improve the long term sustainability of the Islands. But I’m unconvinced that this is one of those.
    Let’s see the cost-benefit analysis and a legally binding agreement from some airlines first.
    Better still let’s spend a fraction of this money on improved ways to whisk passengers away from St. Thomas airport to the BVI in a fast, efficient and first-class manner.

    Like 31
    Dislike 7
    • agree says:

      many of us here for year been saying the same

      Like 10
    • Reasoning says:

      @Hmmmmm I am in full alignment with your post. The best plan is one with a backup plan; (plan B.) In this case the airport should only be considered after carefully thinking through the St. Thomas BVI ferry connection; at least for a while (2-3 years). A story was told to me a few years ago about the challenge of St. Thomas being unable to control their borders. During St. Thomas’s hay day and BVI’ pre-tourism beginning, BVIslanders regularly went to work there; sometimes overstaying the usual 29 days granted; sometimes entering the unusual way; (through de window they called it). Seeing it as a difficult situation, a higher status officer from US Border control was summoned to come to St. Thomas to evaluate and find a solution. Upon arriving on St. Thomas he decided to ride the ferry to Tortola and got on the ferry, laid back to take a nap. He had hardly closed his eyes when one of the sailors tapped him on his shoulder and said: “We reach”. When he opened his eyes and noticed the short distance between the islands he was totally surprised called their effort a useless cause; since the distance could easily be crossed by swimming or row boat. He caught the next ferry back to St. Thomas and later back to the US. The rest is history, as they say.
      The point to the story is that the movement between both islands by sea is short and simple. I am convinced that especially since our overnight occupancy is still considerable low because of the hurricane damage, we should take the time and dollars to plan, upgrade and simplify the process of moving bodies between Cyril King Airport to West End and Road Town. Much bigger challenges have been solved; such as men going into space and returning; to the bottom of the ocean, removing oil and other deposits from miles below the ocean floor and miles across land; even to places where there isn’t any oil or other deposits. The very cell phone in our hands was one of these impossible challenges. The times in which we are living calls for “Out of the box thinking”.
      Perhaps “A whack on the side of the head”, would be of interest not only to entrepreneurs; but politicians as well: http://bit.ly/aWhackOntheHead

      Like 11
      Dislike 1
    • also@hmm says:

      so u moved here and you are an expert on building runways and bvi economy? its ok to re re locate!
      THE RUNWAY WILL BE BUILT, trust that information

      Like 3
      Dislike 13
  2. Windy says:

    Why was The Mongoose not allowed to rebuild? Because it would compete with one of the “big family’s” business?

    Like 10
    Dislike 4
  3. @Hmmm says:

    Having recently relocated to the BVI I think you should take some more time and get some more information before posting.

    Like 7
    Dislike 13
  4. yes says:

    and cleaning up that filth would help even more

  5. E. Leonard says:

    In larger countries, airports attract development in proximity to them. These development can adversely impact airport operations. Consequently, policies are put in place to limit the type developments that are compatible with airport operations. Airports also have some inherent safety potentials that the public must be protected from. Approaches and departure paths present some potential safety hazard zones.

    To protect the public, clear zones, accident potential zones……..etc are established. There are restrictions on the type of developments that can occur within these zones. What impact, if any, will these requirements impact Trellis Bay? Will the TBLIA extension pose a hazard(s) to existing Trellis Bay buinesses if they remain in place after the expansion?

    Like 12
    • Socrates says:

      If true that these safety zones are standard for airports, are they included in the extension plan? Are the footage for these safety zones included in the extension? If no how will the additional footage impact Trellis Bay? How will noise impact nearby businesses and customers?

  6. SMH says:

    Stop destroying the Mangrooves! I am sure these Mariners beneffiting off the expansion of airport expansion, ferry docks, cruise ship pier! The Rich getting richer, leaving the local small man to live in poverty. Yes, the economic and tourist industry needs expansion abd stability to grow, but the Locals needs sustainibilty and resource to survive. What the phrase says, “Teach a man to fish and he becomes a Fisherman”

    Like 10
    • Sssttthhh says:

      BVI had a fishing industry but then you got lazy and couldn’t be bothered and went after easy cash

    • E. Leonard says:

      @SMH, “Stop destroying the Mangrooves!.” Real talk. The mangrove along the BVI shoreline is almost wiped out. For example, as a young boy, I remember (well….) the area from Fat Hogs Bay to the Sound on the eastern end of Tortola was once lined/fringed with mangroves. Today, there are hardly any mangroves left; destroyed for marinas, land reclamation……..etc. What is the value of mangroves?

      Mangroves protect the shoreline from wave and storm damages(hurricanes), prevent shoreline erosion, protect/minimize storm surge/flooding, trap sediments (protecting reefs and sea beds), filter out pollutants from runoff, serve as a breeding and feeding ground for fish, birds…..etc. Moreover, there must be a practical balance between protecting the shoreline in a sustainable way and economic growth and development, developing and protecting livelihoods………etc. Protecting the shoreline is another item for the territory’s increasing bucket list of things to do.

  7. Trellis bay man.... says:

    Please take this kind of Orwellian inverted un truth non news out of our face …..the airport dream is a waste of collective imagination. We can do better than fantasizing about out dated development models that unequivocally lead to perpetuated environmental and economic damage. We could see cows jump over the moon ! Increased business from massive ecosystem degradation….yeah right….dream on.
    Lets focus on preparing our population and infrastructure for (rapid irreversible) climate change adaption efforts.

  8. Anonymous says:

    With such developments, we should and would like to see a 50/50 split, at least, in local versus expat/white owned business in that area.

    Our past legislators have sold us out to much. It is time to correct some of those miscalculations of business dealings.

    We must begin to look out for us, or in fifty years or less, we will be only minimum wage earners and the scorn of the imperialist, colonialist and capitalist, and he will not look like or give a damn about us!!

    Like 7
    Dislike 3
    • Anonymous says:

      Yes let’s not leave out the r****t BVI belonger bs. The poor African being taken advantage of by the white man. Take that r****t s**t and shove it up your a**

      Like 3
      Dislike 2
      • @Anonymous says:

        If calling for an equal piece of the business pie for “African locals” makes me a racist, then i gladly accept that characterisation.

    • Jefferson says:

      Actually, it all begins with education. Had the NDP spent the 7.2 on improving our schools and focused on improving the quality of our eduction we would be in the position to get better jobs.

      We can’t tie our future to the hope that our future govt will give us jobs that we aren’t equally qualified for.

      Why can we invest in eduction today so that tomorrow we are as qualified or better qualified than anyone else.

      Why can’t create the best program, hire the best teachers, build the best schools in the world? Our population is small and the investment to achieve this would be less than than what the NDP overspent on the hospital, the pier and the wall projects alone.

  9. Saw what says:

    The want to spend $100m on a new terminal??? The one we have is empty most the time and certainly sufficient.

    Imagine if we could spend $100m rebuilding our schools and improving our overall quality of education.

    Like 15
  10. What Time Is It? says:

    Ok, we are choosing not to engage in “Out of the box thinking and reasoning” in these crucial times. The almighty Green Back is the only consideration. Hurricane Irma has left a lot of lessons and opportunities for our consideration.
    So we are going to ignore the many community minded persons on these forums; many rational folks who are reasoning and considering our options at this crucial time; already aware of our dire financial situation and commitments; ($114-million at Peebles, $80-millions TPP, $7.2 airplane ++++). Are we the voters who are hiring supposedly educated men and women to run our affairs, commit us to debts and commitments that will ultimately roll over to our children and grand children without our voices being listened to and respected?
    When this discussion first started in 2012, I recall the “Done deal minister”, after not agreeing to the many voices of reason at the meeting at the community Center in district 7/8, Voices such as Mr. Keith Flax, a pilot, long time resident and now belonged and architect, Michael Helm and others, offering their well thought out responses. What was the minister’s response while becoming adamant that the airport expansion had to happen? He insisted it was a “Sovereign matter”. In other words, it wasn’t about tourism; but something that just has to happen because of our Sovereign status.
    Finally we commit ourselves and turn over our sovereign matter situation to a private individual or company for the next 30 years becoming the 11th most Dangerous airport in existence? http://bit.ly/10MostDangerousAirports

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
    • Sherlock says:

      The NDP’s decisions to invest in the airline and the runway are not logical. They were never explained to us. Is there logic behind their thinking or were they being directed like puppets by a large property owner or outside influencer to pursue this?

      The Premier told us recently that BVI Airlines failed because of his plans to build a longer runway. But the NDP secretly approved the deal in BVI Airways several years after they announced their plans to build the runway.

      What did members of the NDP receive for their illogical and unexplained decisions to give BVI Airways $7,200,000. The Premier said “no one got rich over this deal.” But, what he didn’t say is that no one received any payola.

      The NDP needs to explain this to us. Who got the payola and what was the logic behind giving some crooks our money without doing any due dilligence.

  11. Hopefull says:

    Sorry but we donot need a new big runway to bring even more people to the BVI.
    What we need to be thinking is reducing the number of people to the BVI and increasing what they spend.
    The environment is being destroyed by what we have at the moment.. bring more and it will be destroyed quicker… we are already overrun with expat workers.. increase hotels will only increase expat workers… concentrate on training indigenous people to fill the posts we have currently in all businesses… reduce the amount of traffic by reducing the population.. increase the income of the population by improving the BVI.
    MORE IS NOT BETTER… BETTER WILL BE MORE…
    After the hurricanes was a perfect time to rethink regroup… I have seen none of this from our Government.. everything is just getting rebuilt.. stick a new roof on, slap some paint and away we go.. was the Road Town Police station the best place… NO.. but they are just rebuilding as they where… sell the property, knock down and rebuild the station Rd police station, go up 3 floors build for tomorrow.. and the same for every Government building, just rebuild it… the charter companies have free rein to import however many boats as they can cram in…. restrict them.. our bays are becoming lifeless septic bays.. the reefs are going the pollution is taking over.. restrict them….
    anyway got to finish my work…

  12. Lodger says:

    Small point. At the recent EIA meeting it was stated that the runway is to be extended to 6100ft, not 7100ft.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Beating a dead horse while being completely uniformed relative to actual facts can become nauseating at times.

  14. BuzzBvi says:

    Why do we continue this lie. What International hubs?

    Only limited planes can fly from from a very limited range of airports in the US to land on the runway that is proposed.

    Planes will not, because they can not, be flying in from around the world.

    We are all being mislead.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  15. thoughtful sailor says:

    Think this will not affect the Trellis businesses? Regulations will limit the height of masts in the flight path. We went over this in the meeting seven years ago! Most of the anchorage at Marina Cay will fall into a no go zone. Getting around the end of the runway will require going north of Marina Cay. There are all sorts of issues that “Done Deal” chose to ignore, at the time, which will greatly diminish the flow of boats to Trellis, and that will certainly have an effect on business.

  16. What Time Is It? says:

    @Thoughtful sailor You are right in so many ways 7 years ago as you mentioned, I was living in the Done Deal minister and I recall the meeting held in the community center just above the police station, on the opposite side of the street; standing room only; with sever minds capable (pilots, architects etc) capable of offering, (and they did) good solid information. However the minister apparently came to the meeting to make an announcement, (which he did) a Done Deal announcement. Just like the plane fiasco, we are good at giving the Green Light to things we thought we understand, mean while spending millions for consultation in other areas. MCW had something like 13 Consultants a few years ago. And then we are asking where did our money go.

  17. Political Observer (PO) says:

    The BVI government/BVIAA has been soliciting for sometime now a partner for a Public Private Venture (PPV)/Public Private Partnership(PPP) for extending the TBLIA runway and improving the terminal. The project was masqueraded as a “Done Deal” at a public meeting several years ago. What is the status?

    Has the government gotten any serious nibbles for a PPV? Has it gotten any commitments from any major airline lines? Would be utter surprised if there were any serious commitment at this juncture? At the end of day, as E. Leonard and others beat the drums on, it will come down to passenger loading. Passenger loading is the life blood for passenger airlines getting and staying airborne.

    The complete and useable estimated cost is $250, 000, 000.00. This is a large sum; how was it arrived at? Is this a fair and reasonable price or is it the BVI price? It is an open secret that BVI taxpayers get shafted on construction projects. Consultants, contractors……etc are excited doing business with BVI government.

    Further, investors typically set a minimum rate of return on investment (ROI), eg, 20%……etc minimum hurdle rate. TBLIA is a small airport with limited revenue streams, ie, departure taxes, landing fees, parking fees, space rental fees, security fees, refueling fees (?)……etc so will these revenue streams be enough to meet/satisfy the minimum hurdle rate?

    True, TBLIA will be outsourced for 20-30 years so that the investor can recoup its investment with as a high profit margin as possible. However, the time value of money, ie, money is worth more the sooner it is received, will be a factor?

  18. limit says:

    all it means greg , moor money in your pocket and bouncing around in your lil circle,its not gonna benefit us right now , da country was hurting before arma an after it get really wos, we need to fix all outstanding projects before we go da

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