Temporary fix for running track at GC Foster coming

Temporary fix for running track at GC Foster coming

BY ANDREW HANCEL Observer writer

Saturday, January 28, 2012

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GERMAN firm BSW Regupol, international experts in producing athletic tracks of the highest quality, has committed to do minor resurfacing work on the running track at GC Foster College, following an inspection yesterday.

Leading the delegation was Natalie Neita-Headley, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for sports. She was also accompanied by GC Foster College principal Edward Shakes and Ventley Brown, athletics director at the college; along with Peter Breuer, who is a director at Regupol.

Following an inspection of the track, Neita-Headley said: "What will happen for right now is that Regupol has volunteered to contribute some assistance to fill out some of the bad spots that you see… for free… so that we can have a meet here at the school (next) Saturday."

Regupol was responsible for installing the running tracks at the National Stadium and the University of the West Indies, and are presently doing repairs at the National Stadium East field.

While they’re happy to assist the government, Breuer, noted that the track is in a very bad state.

"We’ve just decided to do some patch work within the next couple of weeks while our people are still doing Stadium East," Breuer said. "The whole track needs to be taken out and redone though at a later point, after the track season probably," he added.

"We’ve agreed now that I would put in a proposal of a financing model that would need to be discussed with the principal (Edward Shakes), the SDF (Sports Development Foundation) and the minister and us; and hopefully we will come to terms before the end of the year. Then we will need to see how the whole facility can be renovated to make sure it last for the next 20 years," he said.

The track at the island’s only sports college was built in the late 1990s through funding under the San Jose Accord. Since its installation back then, no repairs has ever been done on the track, the Observer has learnt.

The college, over the years, has had many promises from government for help gone gone unfulfilled.

However, having been made aware of the poor state of the track, the current minister has sought to move with urgency.

"The long-term plan is going to be dependent on how much I get when I now ask for all of Jamaica to come forward and assist with laying a brand new track here at GC Foster at a cost of some $80 million. So while the government is going to be seeking to ensure that this happens, I’m asking for all of Jamaica, in whatever way you can, to contribute," Neita-Headley told the Observer.

But it’s not clear if Regupol will commence work at the college, while simultaneously fixing the Stadium East track, which is slated for completion in early February.

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