Project manager: Scarborough suffered neglect, urban decay

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Scarborough Esplanade. (FILE PHOTO) –

A TOBAGO House of Assembly (THA) project manager believes Scarborough has been subject to what she described as “years of neglect and urban decay.”

Salisha Duke, who recently managed the expansion of the Calder Hall Administrative Complex, made the statement on Wednesday during the second instalment of a virtual public consultation on the redevelopment of Scarborough.

She was one of four panellists who addressed the consultation, which was hosted by the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development.

Duke said although Scarborough is regarded as Tobago’s administrative and commercial capital, “An examination of Scarborough, in its present condition, will highlight years of neglect and urban decay.”

She elaborated, “There exists a fading business and commercial centre, many aging, poorly maintained and dilapidated infrastructure, utility lines hanging on wooden poles that are unsightly, which contributes to a poor urban aesthetic and unsafe environment.”

Duke said Scarborough’s transport network was inadequate and could not properly cater to its current needs.

“Our capital is a gateway to our island and it is viewed as a less than appealing place (as a) tourist destination.”

Saying Scarborough must serve as an engine of growth for economic activities to flourish, Duke said the proposed conceptual plan focuses on tourism, commercial development, transport network infrastructure and residential and recreational development.

She said the port, which is also to be redeveloped, will allow the island to forge connections internationally through trade.

“The executive council made known their intention to build out various sectors in the Tobago space so that our island can actively participate in the exportation of Tobago products. This commercial aspect of the port will also allow us to do direct importation of goods. which would result in the reduction of costs of production on our island and also help to drive the cost of living down.”

On completion, Duke said the port will be able to accommodate two cruise ships, along with the existing inter-island ferries and other vessels.

“This development will create a myriad of opportunities for commercial activities.”

She said the port will also contain a museum showcasing aspects of Tobago’s history, including artefacts found in the Atlantic.

Duke said Scarborough must not be seen as an entry point to other parts of Tobago but as a destination in its own right.

In his proposal, lead architect Joshua Stewart said the civic centre, near TTEC’s current location, on Wilson Road, will house all the government agencies. T&TEC will be relocated to the Cove Industrial Estate.

He said a housing development is also being proposed for the northern side of the Claude Noel Highway, opposite the Light and Life Secondary School.

Stewart also proposed that the Assembly Legislature should be extended to include a library and museum.