This year marked the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Recreation Trust Act (Cap 278), and Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said the trust is launching a series of activities to explain its work to the public.
He thanked the new trust board members, appointed nine months ago and headed by chairwoman Dawn Crabbe-Herbert, for their work to improve recreational facilities in the territory.
“They have made significant strides in restructuring the trust’s operations,” he said.
That work includes making “steady progress” in bettering the body’s financial accountability, particularly in dealing with outstanding audits, he said, adding that some financial statements have been missing since 2004.
“This has been a difficult task, so I must commend the [chairwoman] and her team for their diligence in seeking to rectify this longstanding matter,” Dr. Wheatley said.
VG park work
The minister added that the trust has been bolstering its maintenance efforts too, implementing a schedule for two teams to visit facilities in the territory regularly.
One project in the works is a major renovation at Walters Recreational Park on Virgin Gorda, according to Dr. Wheatley, who thanked the VG community for donating money and in-kind contributions to support the revamp.
The trust is partnering with the National Parks Trust to maintain the Walters park, as well as the East End Park and the Benjamin Romney Park, he said.
Meanwhile, he explained, the city manager will help with the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds, the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Field, the Band Stand and the Long Bush playground.
At the Sea Cows Bay basketball court, he added, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture is helping “address some safety matters, restore the restroom and clean up the area for more parking.”
At Brewers Bay park, the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities is helping clean the area, he said.
Otherwise, the trust also will turn its attention to Millicent Mercer Softball Field upkeep, according to the deputy premier.
A potential donor, who he did not identify, also may help fix the perimeter fencing at the Greenland field, Dr. Wheatley said.
A.O. Shirley pavilion
Additionally, the trust is meeting with stakeholders to pursue the restoration of the pavilion at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds, according to the minister. The Recovery and Development Agency is helping draft an outline for the different construction phases, he explained.
“As the trust seeks to ensure safe recreational facilities for the benefit of all in the territory, we know that greater financial investments will have to be made,” Dr. Wheatley said. “In the not-too-distant future, the trust will embark on a review of its tariff and services with the aim of determining where its revenue streams can be increased.”