~ $2.2 million in Irma damage ~
PHILIPSBURG–An estimated total of NAf. 238,768.42 has been spent thus far on repair of sports facilities that suffered damage during the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September last year.
The total damage to sports facilities from the hurricanes was estimated at US $2.2 million. This amount is separate from the much-needed repairs and upgrading works that are planned at the various sport facilities.
Sports Affairs Minister Wycliffe Smith told Members of Parliament (MPs) during a parliamentary sitting last week that an estimated NAf. 165, 660 was taken directly from the National Sports Institute’s (NSI’s) maintenance budget to ensure an immediate clean-up response after last year’s mega-storm.
Smith said the repairs that had been executed include debris removal, facility clean-up, facility roof- and fence-repair and the purchase of materials for the various outdoor courts and facilities.
NSI has received funds to the tune of NAf. 143,057 from government and donors to assist with the needed repairs. Of this amount, an estimated NAf. 136,432 was released from government to cover some repairs related to Melford Hazel Complex and the various district courts in Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Belvedere, Cole Bay and Simpson Bay. An estimated NAf. 6,625 was donated by various businesses to NSI to cover some of the cost attached to the repairs.
Smith said that while the facilities have been reopened, repairs are still needed. Raoul Illidge Sports Complex was reopened in November 2017, but lights, main stands, artificial turf and track, and the fencing are still damaged. Temporary lights are currently being utilised. The repairs around the pool are nearing completion.
L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium was reopened in January 2018, but the shutters, the office and the stands still need minor repairs.
Melford Hazel Sport Complex was reopened in March 2018. Although the roofing was fixed, the flooring, gazebo, fencing and outdoor lights still need to be repaired and other minor repairs are still needed.
John Cooper/Jose Lake Sr. Ball Park was reopened in March 2018, but the lights still need to be repaired.
Currently there are six sports facilities in St. Maarten: Raoul Illidge Sports Complex, L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium, Melford Hazel Sport Complex, John Cooper/Jose Lake Sr. Ball Park, Johan Cruyff Court and the Little League Baseball Stadium.
Government also subsidises five art facilities: John Larmonie Centre, Philipsburg Cultural and Community Centre, St. Maarten Heritage Foundation and Museum, St. Maarten Archaeological Centre SIMARC and Philipsburg Jubilee Library.
Smith said all the buildings housing the five art facilities except SIMARC are operational. Some repairs have been made to make the five subsidised buildings functional. “Although they are operational, none are operating optimally,” he said.
Many of the facilities have some form of disrepair due to post-Hurricane Irma challenges.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82690-naf-238-768-spent-on-sports-facilities-repair