– to cost some $68M for full rehabilitation
By Enid Joaquin
“We did a survey, and to bring this thing back up and running is $68 million. Our job is to make certain that this airstrip is in readiness for the next stage when the Government comes in. So, we want to preserve it. We’re clearing almost a mile on both sides,” Regional Chairman Renis Morian said, as he pointed to vegetation on the verge of undermining the old Mackenzie Airport runway in Linden on Monday.
Morian explained that it was important to halt the growth of the weeds, as any undergrowth could result in structural faults and damage to the airport tarmac.
The Regional Chairman was at the time visiting the site where sixty persons are currently engaged in the first phase of rehabilitation works.
The Airport runway, which was built more than half a century ago, is considered to be one of the best of its kind across the country.
Alluding to the potential economic impact to accrue when the Linden to Lethem road is developed, Morian further posited, “We recognise, not just the potential for residents of Region 10 (but) nationally. Do you know how many persons from Linden have to travel to Georgetown to charter a plane or board a plane to go where they’re going? This airstrip is going to do great. The impact of this airstrip – think in terms of oil and gas, the movement of materials, people, etcetera. This airstrip – once it’s up and running – is going to be abuzz with activity!”
Several residents across Linden and Region Ten have expressed optimism that the rehabilitative works will positively impact development, as it would create easier movement of both cargo and people across the region.
The current project is expected to last between three to five days, according to Regional Vice Chairman Elroy Adolph.
Funded by the Ministry of Finance to the tune of some $2 million, it is the first phase of a developmental plan for the facility. However its further upgrade, expected to cost approximately $68 million, includes fencing, installation of a hangar, waiting area, washroom facilities and security and lighting.
The old Mackenzie Airport provided a crucial service to the mining town before the establishment of the Linden/Soesdyke Highway. It facilitated the transportation needs of expatriate staff and other senior executives of the Bauxite Company, and several dignitaries and Heads of State visiting the community.
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