The German firm INROS Lacknew S.E. offered more details about the 12,000-square-foot facility that would replace the temporary terminal at Sopers Hole. (Graphic: RDA)

In a follow-up to the Feb. 6 public meeting where German firm INROS Lacknew S.E. unveiled plans for a contemporary West End ferry terminal, planners offered more details about the project this week during another public meeting on the evening of Feb. 15.

The 12,000-square-foot facility would replace the temporary terminal at Sopers Hole.

The newly proposed designs aim to fix issues with past conceptual designs like limited wharf space, and they feature a “futuristic” aesthetic and amenities including a multi-storey car park, according to INROS project manager Dr. Karsten Galipp.

Dr. Galipp said at the previous meeting that if construction begins on July 1, it could be completed by November 2023.

The firm won a $1,048,909 tendered contract for the project’s design and construction management, and the Recovery and Development Agency will select a separate contractor for construction.

On Feb. 15, RDA CEO Anthony McMaster said nearly 300 people had offered comments since the previous meeting.

The input, he added, focused on six main areas: whether the design would fit the function; how the structure would withstand hurricane-force winds or earthquakes; its affordability; its feasibility on Tortola; its lifespan and expandability; and concerns about the aesthetics.

Dr. Galipp, joined virtually by architects Hans Viljoen and Torsten Illgen, reassured community members on Feb. 15 that the project would be built to international codes, able to withstand windspeeds up to 185 miles per hour.

Mr. McMaster said the project’s statement of requirements made clear what was needed, based on years of discussions with stakeholders, and that statement was the basis of INROS’ preliminary plans. Still, he said, the team welcomes input as it develops the final designs.

50-year lifespan

RDA Programme Strategy Director Neil Smith added that the projected lifespan of the building is 50 years.

Money for the project is coming from the Caribbean Development Bank recovery loan, and Mr. McMaster said the budget has already been approved, though costs could shift as much as 30 percent above or below projections during construction.

“At this stage, we feel confident that the project is affordable, and we will be able to deliver it,” he added.

The RDA states on its website that the total project budget will be released once the planning stage is finalised.

Mr. McMaster said the project is expected to be tendered internationally, but he believes the local expertise exists to carry it out and he anticipates VI contractors entering competitive bids that are “second to none.”

Appearance

In response to criticisms of the design’s appearance, Mr. McMaster said it is meant to embrace the look of the sea’s waves, emblematic of the resilience of the VI people.

“Regardless of how many times we get knocked down, we get back up,” he said. “This building was designed to depict who we are. It’s not about whether or not we want to continue with the traditional-type build: It’s about us as a people now stepping forward boldly to say, ‘This is who we are, and this is the way we are going forward into the future.’”