Two major Nelson Mandela Bay 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup construction projects - the new Livingstone Hospital accident and emergency centre and the Gelvandale training stadium - are nearing completion and expected to be ready for use before the soccer tournament in June.
The R258-million state-of-the-art Livingstone accident and emergency centre is expected to be ready by April, while the R68-million Gelvandale training field completion date is the end of March.
The construction of the massive Livingstone structure, built as an extension and upgrade to the ageing existing facility, had started in May 2009 and was 80% to 90% complete, Bryan Brinkman of Brinkman, Ndayi and McCall architects and project management said during a visit to the construction site by Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Xoliswa Tom on Tuesday.
“I am very impressed with the progress made so far. We are getting there,” Tom said.
The MEC arrived in the city with members of the provincial government's Fifa organising committee for an inspection of all the 2010-related infrastructure initiatives around Nelson Mandela Bay.
The portfolio councillor for Sports, Arts and Culture, Maria Hermans, accompanied Tom to obtain briefings from the contractors about the progress made so far in having the facilities fully operational before the world cup.
The Gelvandale ground and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University stadium will be used for training by soccer teams including Germany, England, Portugal, Ivory Coast, Korea, Greece, Slovenia, Chile, Switzerland and Serbia who will play at the Mandela Bay 2010 stadium during the tournament.
The pitch has been completed and only the 3000-seat grandstand is still under construction and the construction of a parking area is expected to begin soon.
The installation of Fifa-prescribed 500-watt lighting for the facility is also in process.
Construction joint venture company WBHO-Pro-Ikhaya raised concerns with the MEC about the history of the health department's failure to honour payments, which could cause the company not to meet its deadlines for the Livingstone project.
Payment problems to be a thing of the past?
This resulted in Tom promising that the contractor, whose construction costs for the Livingstone project amount to between R20-million and R30-million a month, would no longer encounter such payment problems.
A consultant for Brinkman, Ndayi and McCall told the MEC that the project had stalled several times after the department had failed to honour its payments.
“The only problem is payment. The department has a history of non-payment,” he said.
When the new emergency centre is finished, the old Livingstone casualty and emergency unit will be closed, with the main hospital entrance and ambulance section facing Willard Batteries.
Tom's itinerary started with a visit to the municipal disaster management centre at the South End Fire Station, where she was shown the system of CCTVs connected to the new 2010 stadium and other facilities.
Safety and Security director for 2010 Shane Brown said the high-tech emergency centre would be ready for use 24 hours a day.
A weather office for regular updates had also been installed, he said.
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