Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2014 Contents RESHMA RAGOONATH
Chaguanas will undergo a major trans-
formation with a planned $900 million
investment in the upgrade of the Centre
City Mall, which is located in the heart of
the borough s busy shopping area.
Dr Anthony Fifi, a land developer and
consultant with George Aboud & Sons Lim-
ited (GASL), unveiled the project during a
Planning Ministry consultation, Strategy for
the 4Cs Growth Pole, at the Couva/Point
Lisas Chamber of Commerce conference hall
in Camden, Couva, yesterday.
The 4Cs growth pole is a strategic plan
for development of four districts in central
Trinidad---Couva, Chaguanas, Carapichaima
Fifi said GASL plans to develop the existing
Centre City Mall into the most modern shop-
ping centre in T&T. He said the existing mall
is "quite small" and "will be expanded to
about ten times its size," covering 17 acres
of land stretching from Mulchan Seuchan
Road to east of the Uriah Butler Highway.
From drawings presented yesterday, the
mall will take shoppers on a walk from the
Chaguanas Main Road, where it currently
starts, over the Mulchan Seuchan Road and
to the eastern wing running north-south
along the Uriah Butler Highway.
"The construction cost will be $900 million
and will transform the entire centre of
Chaguanas. It will create Chaguanas main
street as one of the nation s foremost shop-
ping streets," Fifi said.
"GASL has already invested $350 million
in land acquisition. The project is fully
designed and quite ready to go. We are in
the process of finalising with a main con-
tractor to start work at the end of this dry
Yesterday, Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul
Boodan told the T&T Guardian that he wel-
comed the project, which, he said, forms
part of a larger development plan for Chagua-
nas as a growth pole for the country. He said
the entire development project, when com-
pleted, is expected to cost $1.1 billion over-
Home for 300 businesses
Fifi said the upgraded mall, which will
house 300 businesses and a civic car park,
will provide 2,000 temporary jobs in the
construction phase and more than 1,000
permanent jobs when it opens in 2016.
"The tax contributions from this estab-
lishment will be quite enormous," he added.
Fifi warned, however, that the multi-million
construction project could be "seriously com-
promised and set back" if certain areas of
concerns are not addressed, including traffic
congestion and illegal vending in Chagua-
He also highlighted lack of proper planning,
an antiquated planning and approval process,
lack of proper control-rules and regulations,
criminal activities and lack of respect for law
"Unless some of these factors are sorted
out, in particular the traffic congestion and
vending, we would probably be shooting
ourselves in the foot," he said.
Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie
assured that those areas of concern will be
reviewed by the Chaguanas mayor.
(See Page A17)
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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The proposed $900 million rehabilitation of
the Centre City Mall in Chaguanas is already
causing ripples in the central borough.
Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodan says it s part
of the Government s overall 4Cs Growth Pole
development plan for the borough and with the
complementary works needed to accommodate
it, the project will eventually cost $1.1 billion overall.
(See Page A17)
But newly-elected Chaguanas Chamber of Com-
merce president, Rishi Sookhai, yesterday called
for consultation on the mega project, which is the
brainchild of the George Aboud & Sons Ltd (GASL)
group of companies.
Sookhai, speaking with the T&T Guardian by
phone, said the announcement of the billion-
dollar project took him by surprise when he attend-
ed Planning Ministry s public consultation on the
proposed Implementation Strategy for the 4Cs
Growth Pole in Couva yesterday.
"This was the first time I heard of this," he said.
Yesterday, GASL land developer and consultant,
Dr Anthony Fifi, unveiled the 400,000 square-
ft project at the consultation at the Couva Point
Lisas Chamber of Commerce in Couva.
He boasted that the mall would be the "most
modern" in the country and would create 2,000
jobs during the construction phase, feature 300
businesses and provide 1,000 permanent jobs
Sookhai said yesterday that he welcomed the
project, but admitted he had reservations given
the current traffic congestion in Chaguanas.
"The idea is a world-class idea, but the imple-
mentation of it is where we all have to come
together if we want to see it done. We have to
come together," he said.
He said while the megamall would bring an
inflow of economic development to Chaguanas,
they had to admit that "our infrastructure in terms
of traffic is totally unacceptable as it is in the
At yesterday s consultation it was also announced
that six more ETek parks will be built in Chaguanas.
Sookhai said coupled with those projects, the
UWI open campus and the megamall, the question
was how they would deal with the traffic issue
that will be created.
Boodan said he too welcomed all development
in the central borough.
He said the mall has been in the works for the
last four years and was initiated under former
mayor Orlando Nagessar. He said the mall is part
of a total development plan for Chaguanas, includ-
ing an upgraded road network and new entrances
and exits into and out the central borough.
"It will not be isolated, it will flow into a whole
total development plan," he assured.
He agreed there should be consultation, espe-
cially with the vendors who are currently housed
at the old Chaguanas health centre compound.
He said that on Friday he will be holding the
first of a series of consultations with all stakeholders
on the project and the development of the region.
"I am going to engage all the stakeholders in
discussion," Boodan said.
"That is my approach, a bottom-up approach
and hear the views, ideas, opinions, suggestions
and even the criticism of the people also, as to
how we should move forward. We need to deal
with the traffic and will be starting the first level
of consultation with people on Friday."
Boodan also added that he will revisit the whole
traffic development plan for Chaguanas, which
he admitted is a "work in progress."
calls for talks
An artist's impressions of what the transformed Centre City Mall in Chaguanas will look
like after it undergoes a $900 million rehabilitation plan. Developers George Aboud & Sons
Limited (GASL) will undertake the project, but Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodan says its
is part of the Government's overall 4Cs Growth Pole development plan for the borough
which will eventually cost $1.1 billion overall. (See Page A17)
3,000 jobs to be created in Chaguanas...
for Centre City Mall
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