Staff of the BVI Ports Authority were at Maria's By The Sea to speak with the public about various projects, including the cruise pier extension.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
Government has agreed with the Tortola Pier Park (TPP) group to offer approximately $12 million for public investment in the cruise pier project, which includes the lengthening of the pier in Road Town and an adjacent landslide development.
Minister of Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool disclosed that on Monday, July 22, Cabinet approved the final Partnership Development Agreement between TPP and the BVI Ports Authority.
"The next stage is to seek the approval of the United Kingdom Government. If all goes well, work should commence on this project by mid-summer," Minister Vanterpool stated.
According to the Minister, the details of the agreement will not be made public until talks have concluded with the UK Government.
The cruise pier project includes dredging, the lengthening, widening and strengthening of the pier, a boardwalk and a four and a half acre upland development site for retail commercial and entertainment space.
Minister Vanterpool divulged that the agreement is based on a 30-year lease agreement with the TPP group investing some $60 million in the project and a further $20 million into the community over the life of the project.
He also disclosed that the public/private partnership guarantees 425,000 passengers by two cruise lines over 15 years.
When the project was re-tendered last year, Government stipulated that each bidder must provide an opportunity for at least 20% local ownership in the venture.
The BVI Investment Club had been invited to partner with TPP; however, President of the BVI Investment Club, Mr. Meade Malone informed BVI Platinum News that the club was not involved in the cruise pier project and he explained that there was an expression of interest that has not materialized.
A depiction of the land side section of the planned cruise pier development planned for Road Town.
"The way we are moving in that direction and has been proposed by the TPP group, is that we are allowing a 20 percent investment locally in the project and what is being proposed is that the TPP group will build the project with the ports and one year after what we call substantial development...I think by April next year there will be what you call a public offering for that 20 percent where anyone can invest in the amount that should be invested," Minister Vanterpool revealed.
He added that Government is hoping to have a much wider group of persons investing from the Territory in the 20% that is being offered.
"Let us say the project costs 60 million...we are looking at $12 million which we want to raise locally and we are hoping that if you have $1000, $5000, you can invest in the public offering that is made," Minister Vanterpool stated.