The proposed area for the new terminal building of the ANR Robinson International Airport at Store Bay Local Road in Crown Point is the best possible site.
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles revealed at Wednesday’s (April 10) post-Executive Council media briefing that seven locations were considered, and the one selected offered the greatest benefits in terms of cost, environmental impact and existing infrastructure.
Charles said this decision was arrived at based on the results of technical studies for the project, and not on “emotional or political hyperbole”.
Referring to a technical study done by the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, the Chief Secretary stated that Friendship Estate, which was an alternative location suggested for the project, is not THA-owned. He said this area would also require “significant acquisition of private acreages”.
“In the current location,” he explained, “a new terminal will be installed, but the existing terminal and runway will be maintained and are expected to add another facet of revenue generation which can cater to private jets and other high-end clientele.”
Works at Friendship Estate would also have a much greater environmental impact, Charles noted, and require “ultra-expensive systems to maintain balance to the ecosystem”, including “prolific piling, dredging and reticulation technologies”.
The saline conditions, he pointed out, would result in greater maintenance costs, while indigenous bird species would pose an added danger for approaching and departing aircraft. The Store Bay Local Road area would also enable convenient connectivity to the Southwest Waste Water Treatment Plant system, which is currently being extended.
The other alternative at Friendship would be to build a totally new airport, Charles said, which would result in the existing airport being abandoned altogether.