Trinidad Express / The Government may have pulled the plug on several of the mega-projects planned for Penal, but the fire station is not one. Construction on the $71 million facility is under way and expected to be completed in about a year. And the estimated cost of the Penal Fire Station is more than the value of ­ArcelorMittal’s remaining assets in Trinidad. The project is 35 per cent complete, according to Roxanne Stapleton-Whyms, media coordinator for the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT). Work began under the previous People’s Partnership government last year, one month before the 2015 general election in September 2105, and is expected to be completed by August 30, 2017. Three-storey building The estimated cost of the Penal Fire Station is actually $71,239,739, value added tax (VAT)-exclusive, and the contractor hired was Jokhan General Contractors Ltd, said Stapleton-Whyms. According to UDeCOTT, the building is expected to be a three-storey steel-­reinforced concrete building, fully air-­conditioned with wire glass windows and carbon monoxide monitors. There will be a special dry room to store fire kits, appliances room and annexes housing a fuel station, generator room, laundry, switch room, small gear storage, repair room and rescue equipment storage room. The building will also include an annex for storage, laundry and service area. And there will be a gym, recreation area and library. Shiva Roopnarine, president of the ­Penal/Debe Chamber of Commerce, said of all the projects the chamber has been clamouring for, the fire station was the only one in which they saw work being conducted. “The location is ideal. It is centrally ­located to cater for the needs of Barrackpore, Penal, Debe and environs, and even as far as Syne Village and San Francique will benefit from it. In Penal, if there is a fire, sometimes it takes us 45 minutes for a tender to respond to it,” he said. Projects which have been shelved include the building of a new Shiva Boys’ College, Parvati Girls’ College, a sporting complex at Clark Road and the extension of the Solomon Hochoy Highway through the area.


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