The National Sports Council is undertaking the development of 15 mini stadia and upgrading 37 sporting facilities with lights across the island, at a cost of over BDS$13 million.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Development, Dwight Sutherland, made the disclosure while conducting site visits at five of the lighting facilities today. Those sites included Byde Mill and Sheffield, St. George; Connell Town, St. Lucy; Good Shepherd, St. James, and Marshall Parkinson, St. Michael.
Speaking on the rationale for the project, Minister Sutherland stated: “This is part of our sports development thrust. The project that we have embarked on as a Government is to provide lighting at various sporting facilities. We believe that in an effort to elevate sports as one of our main pillars of national identity, social development and also economic prosperity, we have to focus on facilities.
“And, we have to improve facilities where our young sports men and women, and also not so young, can have the opportunities and the avenues to become true global sportsmen in various sporting disciplines. So, we have embarked on a project as a Government to provide the necessary lighting at various facilities that prior to today, did not have lights. So, we can engage in sporting activities in what we deem as after hours….”
According to the Minister, back in September, the Ministry took to Cabinet the proposal for the project and it was approved. In the first phase, LED lights will be used and in the second phase solar power lights.
Of the 37 lighting facilities, it was reported that Byde Mill, St. George; Princess Margaret School, St. Philip, and Lodge Road, Christ Church, lighting facilities were completed; while Foul Bay and St. Martins in St. Philip were at an advanced stage of completion.
Proute and Holy Innocent, St. Thomas; Queen’s Park and Station Hill, St. Michael; Isolation and Conrad Hunte, St. Andrew; Hoyte’s Village and Trents Playing Field, St. James, are also some of the 37 sites to be worked on.
Speaking about the mini stadia aspect of the overall project, the Sports Minister revealed: “We not only install lights, we’re looking at another project which will come on stream next year to create 15 mini stadia across Barbados, which are designed to hold 1,000 to 1,500 people. [In] every single parish, we will create a stadium whereby we can have the opportunity to engage in not only cricket and football but other sports.”
In addition, he pointed out that the facilities are also being developed with the aim of addressing mental health issues, non-communicable diseases and deviant behaviour by providing an avenue for persons to engage in meaningful outdoor physical activities.
Some locations for the mini stadia include Checker Hall and Ignatius Byer, St. Lucy; Friendship, St. Michael; Greens, St. George; Silver Sands, Christ Church, and King George V Memorial Park, St. Philip.
The project, which has six contractors, including Lammy’s Wrought Iron Works Inc., is being managed by Robertson Ward Associates Ltd. One of the project managers, Charles Boyce, indicated that the erected lights would have a 20-year- lifespan and the maintenance would be minimal.