Wallerfield Raceway gets three-month extension

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The Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway (FBWIR) will continue to operate as is, at least until the end of this year, while plans to create a permanent home for racing at the Tamana InTech Park, Wallerfield, are explored.

This was announced on Tuesday by Minister of Trade Paula Gopee-Scoon at a media conference hosted by Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe and attended by officials of the TT Automobile Sports Association (TTASA), including president Fyzool Madan and vice-president Jameer Ali, at the J Hamilton Maurice Room, at Parliament, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

There, it was announced that Evolv­ing Tecknologies and En­ter­prise De­velop­ment Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed (eTeck), which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Trade, has agreed to a three-month extension for racing effective October 1. The revelation came after discussions between all stakeholders were held on Tuesday morning at the Ministry of Sport.

“All parties have noted the need for the facility and racing activities to co-exist. TTASA have received a three-month extension for motor racing activities until December 31st, subject to terms and conditions that must be satisfied with eTecK,” said Gopee-Scoon.

Intervention by the Ministry of Trade became necessary after the TTASA’s license agreement to use the land owned by eTeck expired. The TTASA then sought the intervention of Cudjoe, who turned to the Ministry of Trade.

“We brought it to a three-month extension as there are some issues regarding the land, which is now occupied by the fraternity. So we took the decision to allow it to continue as it is so that plans for the different meetings, which will take us to the end of the year, can be accommodated,” Gopee-Scoon said.

Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry (second left) and the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs (second right) are flanked by Mr Fyzool Madan, President, TTASA (right) and Mr Jameer Ali, vice president, TTASA

According to the minister, the association has agreed to provide the Ministry of Sport with a strategic plan for the industry within two weeks.

“The public will recognise that Government had agreed to the resumption of activity regarding the construction of the Alutech Research and Development Facility wherein the housing of our manufacturing plant for the production of alloy wheel rims from aluminium will be resumed. This activity begins on October 1 and is likely to last one year.”

According to the Trade Ministry, a survey is currently being conducted which will guide the necessary allocation of a 30-metre buffer to the Alutech facility and the possible extension of lands to accommodate both drag and circuit racing. Long-term lease arrangements would be subject to a CEC approval and the necessary insurance arrangements must be in place.

“Therefore, the three months will give us the time to settle these issues. Alutech has already undertaken a survey so that we can be very clear about demarcations for operation of either facility; that is, the motor racing facility and also the Alutech manufacturing facility,” Gopee-Scoon said.

“The drag strip at this time is in the way of the buffer zone. Therefore, again, a survey plan and the proceedings thereafter will sort out exactly where the drag strip will be located even if it requires that an extension of land is required… This will be done. So the idea is that both drag racing and the motor racing circuit will be facilitated by Government at Tamana eTeck Park.”

Gopee-Scoon added, “There are two relationships to be monitored: one is landlord, which eTeck will obviously have to do and which they haven’t done a very good job at I would have to admit, because there has been some serious encroachments on the lands, which were not allocated under their license agreement. That being so, we understand where we are and this is the reason why we have agreed to extend for the next three months, as is. Come January 1, 2019, it’s going to be different.”

She reiterated that conditions will need to be adhered to by the TTASA because of concerns for the safety of those at the manufacturing facility during construction and those at racing events.

With a permanent place for racing now being offered, the talk about the location at Waterloo is now off the table and this has been agreed by all parties.

Both representatives of the TTASA executive, Ali and Fyzool said they were happy for the extension on the agreement and signalled their intention to fulfil the requests for a strategic plan by the Ministry of Sport. (Trinidad Newsday)

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