Dockyard will be ready and raring to go for the beginning of the America’s Cup in May, according to Andrew Dias.

The general manager of the West End Development Corporation told The Royal Gazette he was confident the West End’s infrastructure would cope with the thousands of people expected to descend on the island for the event.

“We will be ready and I feel very strongly that we will be able to cope,” Mr Dias said. “A huge amount of work has already gone into strengthening Dockyard’s infrastructure in preparation for the America’s Cup.

“Over the last seven or eight months all sorts has been happening behind the scenes to ensure we can meet the water, electricity, sewage and telecommunication demands that will be put on us in May and June.

“Transport is probably a project in itself; but it’s important to put the expected influx of people into context. It will not be every hour or every day for two months. We will be ramping up and then ramping down on transportation.”

Mr Dias urged residents to exercise “common sense and patience” when trying to access the West End while competition racing was taking place.

“It’s also extremely important people realise that no matter where you are in the world, whether it’s England for a Premier League game or the US for a big concert, there are delays during and around that event. There’s no sugarcoating that.

“The real question is whether it will be managed well, and my answer to that is ‘yes’.”

The Wedco boss revealed that the quango had set itself an internal deadline of March 15 to have everything in order for the America’s Cup.

Improvements to street lighting around Dockyard are being carried out, while a total refurbishment of HMS Malabar began on Monday and is expected to be finished by April 1. Wedco has completed 95 per cent of its obligations for the South Basin project, and the handover of Cross Island — the home of the America’s Cup Village — to the ACBDA has already started to take place.

“Like any major construction project you do it to the best of your abilities and there will be curve balls along the way,” Mr Dias said.

“It has involved a lot of different ministries, companies and organisations and we have all had to pull together.

“It’s been very interesting and challenging, and the biggest project in Wedco’s history.

“But it’s not just about Cross Island and saying we are done. We have had to calculate what our water consumption needs will be on top of what we already provide as well as extensive review of the wastewater treatment plant.”

Mr Dias commended Wedco staff for their commitment to the raft of projects that had been undertaken in the build-up to the America’s Cup. He also pointed to work opportunities that had arisen as a result of the event outside of his “exceptional team”.

“We have been able to take on quite a bit of casual labour from painters to carpenters,” he said. “We have had about 30 people from various trades helping us out over the winter months when they might not have been employed.

“That work has been spread throughout the community and enabled us to ensure we are ready for the big event.”


Read this article on Royal Gazette here: http://www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20170130/dockyard-raring-to-go-for-ac