Government is set to fund facilities upgrades catering to both competitive sports and recreational activities in Cayman, according to budget documents being debated this week in the Legislative Assembly.
Some are part of a $5.5 million plan to revitalise facilities around Grand Cayman in 2017. Sports Minister Hon. Osbourne Bodden spoke about some of them in the LA Monday (6 June).
In North Side, Old Man Bay Field is slated for upgrades including the installation of changing rooms. The Field plays host to dozens of sporting events this year, including track meets and Cayman Islands Football Association matches.
“It is simply impossible to encourage individuals and teams to utilise facilities such as these without adequate bathrooms and changing rooms,” Bodden said during the budget debate. “The Ministry’s reason is that for relatively small investments in these add on, we’ll be able to facilitate better usage at the facility and will assist in delivering one of the key strategic goals in the National Sports Policy.”
Similar upgrades are planned in East End, where the Donovan Rankine Field is slated to receive restroom and changing room facilities as it also plays host to dozens of football matches throughout the CIFA season.
Several upgrades are planned for Bodden Town near the Haig Bodden Field.
New grandstands are planned near the basketball and netball courts as well as the football pitch. Concession areas are to be constructed in addition to changing rooms and the installation of a covering over the netball and basketball courts to give some shade.
The big development in that area, however, is a $500,000 boxing gym.
“Many of the young people said they simply can’t get to the Dalmain Ebanks gym. So we thought it would be very beneficial to build a small gym behind the civic center,” the Minister said.
“Boxing appeals usually to young people at risk and if we can use that energy in the evening, they’ll go home tired rather than looking to get into some other mischief.”
Another $600,000 project is planned at Red Bay Primary School.
“This will include a commercial grade artificial turf, a walking track, bathrooms, lighting and adequate fencing to allow for amicable coexisting of both the school and the community population,” Bodden said.
At the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, $275,000 is budgeted to add a scoreboard in the National stadium. Another $500,000 is slated to build a Centre of Excellence on the site.
Bodden says he hopes upgrades like these across the country will improve the value and performance in the nation’s sporting scene.
He also said his Ministry will look at smaller community fields across all districts to see where they should add facilities like restrooms.