Sunday 29 March, 2020

BOOT model being considered for Bernard Lodge water, sewerage needs

Daryl Vaz

Daryl Vaz

With the basic infrastructure cost for the new Bernard Lodge township in Portmore, St Catherine expected to cost billions of dollars, the enterprise team guiding the development is actively considering a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model for the provision of water and sewerage services in the area.

Loop News has obtained a copy of the first interim report by the enterprise team that is headed by Joseph Shoucair, who is also chairman of SCJ Holdings. The enterprise team, which was appointed in July by Daryl Vaz, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is responsible for “overseeing the operationalisation of the master plan” for the development area.

According to the interim report, a private sector entity has approached the enterprise team with a view to providing water and sewerage services using the BOOT model.

The report said the private entity would construct the systems in return for a franchise to operate them for a defined period.

“An appropriate recommendation will be made to Cabinet, if the proposal is deemed feasible,” the report said.

According to the report, the estimated cost of the main 4.95 kilometre four-lane boulevard that will traverse the development is US$2.748 million while other road improvements in and around the existing Portmore were estimated at US$12.3 million for a total of US$15 million (J$1.9 billion).

For its part, the National Water Commission (NWC) has estimated that it will cost some US$9.35 million (J$1.19 billion) to supply water to the development area.

“The NWC has confirmed that it will be able to supply all the drinking water needs of the proposed development, primarily from the construction of a new water treatment facility on the Rio Cobre and transporting the same via new pipelines to the development. Additionally, a storage reservoir is to be constructed at a location to be determined,” the interim report said.

It further states that the estimated cost of the expansion of the Greater Portmore sewage plant, construction of a pumping station and trunk sewer line for the development is just under US$21 million (JS$2.6 billion).

In terms of electricity supply to the new town, the interim report states that the enterprise team has been given two options by the Jamaica Public Service Company to illuminate the main arterial road that will traverse the development. Overhead line installation will cost US$268,000 while underground line installation will cost US$1, 840,000.

In the meantime, the cost for detailed drainage design comes in at US$115,385.

“The (enterprise) team recognises that the timely implementation of the development is dependent on the expedition of sales of development lands. The first sales should be nearing completion by the end of the first quarter of 2019 by which time the detailed drainage designs and costings should also be in hand,” the report said.

“It is also recognized that the Portmore Municipal Corporation will likely defer consideration of subdivision and building approvals unless and until it is convinced that firm arrangements are in place for the provision of sewerage and potable water. The (enterprise) team will therefore be using its best endeavors to have these in place by the end of June 2019,” the report added.

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