A brand new Community Centre to serve residents of the Ottley’s and Lodge area opened to the public on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021.
The Opening and Ribbon-cutting ceremony, which began at 4:30 pm on the grounds of the new Community Centre at Lodge Village, was chaired by Dr. Patrick Welcome and attended by several Cabinet officials and dignitaries, including the Honourable Prime Minister and parliamentary representative for the area, Dr. Timothy Harris and Mr. Eugene Hamilton, Minister in charge of Social Development & Gender Affairs, as well as Honourable Ministers Mr. Jonel Powell and Mrs. Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan, His Excellency Tom Chih-Chiang Lee.
Project Manager at Public Works, Ms. Jolin Davis, who supervised the construction, informed that the
EC$3.2 million dollar project was built by John Boy Construction with several features, including two (2) open hallrooms, an office area, kitchen and library, multipurpose room, classroom, and laundry room, as well as ramps for the differently-abled. She noted that the 7910 square-foot building was also outfitted with a cistern, outdoor parking and recreational spaces, and free internet access, compliments of The Cable’s Community Centre ‘Wifi’ initiative. Construction of the Multi-Purpose Centre began in 2019 and continued into 2020, when delays were experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, until resumption of activity in May of that year.
In his remarks, Minister Eugene Hamilton indicated that the Government was responsive to the felt needs of the Ottleys-Lodge community and that the Multi-Purpose Centre would be an invaluable asset to the people of the area, providing opportunities for leadership and development programmes, skills and educational training, guidance for persons at-risk, as well as a meeting place for clubs, groups, sporting organizations, youth events and camps. He lauded the Republic of China on Taiwan for their financial assistance, which made the project possible.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Janelle Lewis-Tafari, advised that the Centre would help to bring government services closer to the people of Ottley’s and Lodge Villages, as Social Assistance Officer Ms. Delicia Crawford, and Community Development Officer Mr. Haniff Charles, would be based at the Centre to assist persons in applying for social assistance programmes, and in developing and implementing community initiatives.
In addition to providing a space for community programmes, Mrs. Lewis-Tafari noted that Centre would also act as a shelter in the event of a disaster. “With this in mind…the Ministry and community must together take active measures to ensure the improved standard of care for the Centre, especially given that it will also serve as an official hurricane centre and must be in a state of readiness, when and if we have to utilize it as such”, she said, urging persons to take ownership and personal responsibility for the structure.
The Permanent Secretary also thanked the Government, the Republic of China on Taiwan, Public Works Department, John Boy Construction Company, The Cable and staff of the Ministry for their partnership in making the Ottley’s-Lodge Multipurpose Centre a reality for the people of the community.
End of Release February 17th, 2021