There is much talk around this second year of Bradley’s tenure. The talk is that he step up to the plate and deliver a mini stadium for Choiseul. Among those clamouring for this stadium are one top security expert and a retired youth sports director. “Bradley en have to do much. Just give the youth a stadium and his body press.” The two kept echoing in unison. Hmmm! I moaned. With Chastanet focused on that economic recovery campaign for St Lucia, will he pump monies into a Choiseul facility?
|Rufus and Lorne - the non-deliverers|
During Rufus Bousquet’s tenure as Parliamentary Rep he secured some funds towards the building of a mini stadium. To my knowledge a feasibility study was done - site tested and design plans were already in the works. Bousquet lost the elections and things came to a standstill. (Take the poll on the right)
One would have thought that Lorne Theophilus would have taken on this project but rather he was more hell bent on making his base believe that the stadium money was no more. So four and a half years went by and the mini stadium was on the back burner. By the way, it is now being alleged that all the stadium monies was there at the Choiseul Credit Union and that the last administration withdrew and lodged it into the consolidated funds. (Par mwen kee de ee). So what now?
I have always been an advocate of top quality facilities for our local sportsmen and women. I guess that’s why I stayed so close to Rufus with the hope that this stadium would come to fruition. What a waste of my time and energy!
|Soufriere Mini Stadium|
My heart aches every time I hear of an activity at the Soufriere stadium – we should have had a stadium by then I keep saying to myself. I recall the deceased Bolo reposting an article I wrote about my utter disappointment in Rufus in his blog post at http://choiseulpowerhouse.blogspot.com/2012/08/weh-de-money-for-choiseul-stadium-gone.html
Fast forward. Choiseul to my mind is committed to promoting and developing a strong sporting culture in the communities as well as raising our national and regional profile in sports. In realizing this vision, our overall strategies should be: (a) promoting “Sports for All”; (b) fostering high performance sports; and (c) promoting Choiseul as an attractive venue for hosting districts sports events.
At present, the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council (CSCC) maintains over 3 different sports venues in Choiseul. Among the larger venues are the La Fargue and the Piaye grounds. These are often used for holding major sports events like cricket, football and athletics, as well as large-scale political rallies. However, these playing grounds do not have changing accommodations for players, poor seating facilities and do not match up to national standards like the facilities in Soufriere and Vieux Fort, just to name the two closest ones. It’s time that a new modern, multi-purpose mini stadium should be developed.
So what do I have in mind for this stadium?
- A stadium with a minimum seating capacity of 3,000 spectators with capability to extend to 5,000.
- The stadium could cater for all types of sports events, entertainment events, concerts, conferences, product exhibitions political rallies;
- Sufficient car parking areas, and landscape features.
- The stadium to house government institutions in the district – Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council, Environmental Health Office and Youth Officer Office
|Bradley Felix in great company|
- A stadium can attract more national sports events to be held in Choiseul. This, in turn, would help raise Choiseul’s sports profile, as well as attract investment and business opportunities;
- A modern and well-equipped facility could provide a better training environment for our sportsmen and women would help improve their performance in local, national, regional and hopefully international events;
- Such facility would also generate local interest in sports, and encourage wider community participation in sports activities, including raising their interest in watching large-scale sports events; and
- There are successful examples in our neighbouring towns, such as Vieux Fort and Soufriere in operating a stadium in facilitating sports development.
The stadium to my mind will involve substantial investment. The site would be required both the small and large field at La Fargue for the construction of the proposed stadium and its ancillary facilities.
I am no quantitative surveyor and cannot give an estimate on how much the project will cost.
How could the stadium be funded?
- Well for starters we already have $600,000.00 more or less in a consolidated fund. Don’t forget it’s our money.
- Through donations from friendly countries. Minister of foreign affairs…get to work.
- Private sector participation – in view of the construction cost, participation by the private sector in the financing, construction, operation and management of the stadium should be considered.
- Funding schemes involving tax-exempted bonds
- National lotteries
NB: In the United States creating stadium proposals is one method by which governmental bodies can obtain financing necessary to build new stadiums. Once a legislative body or general public approves a stadium plan, the governmental body authorized to issue bonds to pay for the stadium sells the bonds to the investors. The government then pays the investors according to the funding source authorized by the approval of the plan. (Could we not copy that model?)
But I have my worries too, about this stadium. I envisaged that the proposed stadium may not be able to generate enough recurrent revenue to cover recurrent operating costs. Will the stadium be able to make sufficient funds to pay its utility bills and maintain its staff or will the government foot the bills - Beausejour immediately comes to mind – Spider’s statement at the last budget debate. Could the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council or some other operating agent profitably run this sport facility? Your guess is as good as mine.
Well then what are the alternatives?
- The future operating cost could be fully borne by an operating agent, or the Government could provide funding or subsidy. If Government should contribute to the operating expenses, the funding formula should be carefully worked out.
- Advertising, premium seating, naming rights, personal seat licenses, and revenue from concession stands and other revenue generating sources should be explored
If you are genuinely in favour of a mini stadium for Choiseul make your voice heard on:
- (a) the need for a multi-purpose stadium in Choiseul;
- (b) how the stadium should be funded;
- (c) other key issues that Government should consider in relation to the stadium development;
- and (d) the proposed way forward as regards to operating the facility.