Article by Nicola Dillon; Photos by Colin Duncan
After months of planning and preparation work, the Ascension Island Government was pleased to officially open the Children’s Park on Tuesday, 2 February.
Ginny Ferson, Deputy Governor of Bermuda and the UK Senior Officer responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Wass Inquiry Report recommendations, had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon and declaring the park officially open.
Beforehand the Administrator, Marc Holland, spoke a few words describing the background to the playground renovation, which was one of the projects which were fostered under the umbrella of the Bicentenary year celebrations. The project began as a £85K bid from the Development Fund in the last Appropriation Ordinance and was intended to upgrade the children’s playground to bring the facility up to required safety standards and to replace the old play equipment with new equipment.
At this stage the Administrator handed over to Councillor Nicholas John who became the Island Council champion for the park. Councillor John had been involved in the project from start to finish and he was instrumental in the design, project management and procurement of equipment for the playground.
Councillor John said that there had been great teamwork across AIG and the island generally in the project. The core project team was supported by various AIG teams as required. He said that it had been a privilege and an honour to work alongside the team on the project. The project had been approached with humour and good spirit as well as a serious amount of thought, hard graft and dedication. The end result was a playground that not only enticed and accommodated all ages of children and their parents, but kept within budget, was aesthetically pleasing and conformed to British Safety Standards.
Particular mention was made of team leader, Nicky Herne, who took ownership of the project and invested a huge amount of personal time and effort to ensure its success. Councillor John said that Nicky demonstrated once more his infallible attention to detail and desire for perfection and quality. The project, said Councillor John, depended on Nicky’s trade craft and managerial ability.
Councillor John gave thanks to the following:
- IDL, Southern Pole Services and Redhall Engineering who donated concreting materials
- Berard Dupres and Babcock for sponsoring a proportion of the water used by the water feature
- Steve Brown who was responsible for deploying the workforce in support of the project
- The AIG Fire department who washed the apparatus in readiness for the Christmas Eve celebrations
- Shalane Thomas who was responsible for the financial aspect of the project and kept the budget on track
- Nicky Benjamin and the excavation team for preparing the grounds. Special mention was made of Martin Henry and Kevin Wade for their support throughout the installation. Councillor John commented that nothing was too much trouble for them!
- Roy Francis and Raymond Andrews for construction work. Councillor John explained that there was a lot of work hidden underground which was crucial to the safety of the structures. He thanked Roy and Raymond for their hard work and commitment to deliver the project as soon as possible.
- Patrick (Toby) Brooks, Mario Williams and Nathan Thomas for the electrical installation
- Adrian Williams and Roy Thomas who carried out the plumbing works
- Darren Benjamin who was invaluable in assembling the apparatus and lending support for the construction work
- The following staff members were also part of the project team: Gareth Henry, Glen Lawrence, Steven O’Connor, Cormac Crowie and Gerald March
All are to be congratulated on their fine achievement!