Work to repair the decrepit Red Bay Fishermen’s Dock in East End is scheduled to begin Tuesday as part of the Fat Hogs Bay Harbour Development Project, officials said.
The works are being undertaken to bolster the territory’s fishing industry, according to Ronald Smith-Berkeley, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour.
“We are pleased to report that the fishermen of Red Bay will soon have a larger, stronger and more functional docking site,” he said. “Additionally, the area will be beautified in the process.”
The plans call for the project to include a rebuilt dock, a marina and a boat ramp, according to Government Information Services.
Plans to repair the dock date back to at least 2011. That year, then-Premier Ralph O’Neal announced at a Virgin Islands Party campaign rally weeks before the November election that the dock works would occur.
In a subsequent 2011 interview, Financial Secretary Neil Smith said that $1.2 million in contracts relating to the project had been inked on Mr. O’Neal’s last day in office.
The dock repairs were not planned or listed in government’s 2011 capital projects budget, Mr. Smith said.
The current government continued the project. Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering, the minister of natural resources and labour, has repeatedly described development in Fat Hogs Bay as a priority for economic development.
At a public meeting at the East End/Long Look Community Centre in February 2013, Dr. Pickering told residents that work would get under way soon.
“We have started the environmental assessment, and we are awaiting the coastal engineers to come along to do some more detailed studies, and when that process is completed we will then embark on the dredging that is necessary,” Dr. Pickering said at the time.