Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sports Hub on schedule

CONSTRUCTION of the much-postponed Sports Hub is still on track to begin in the middle of this year, Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, said yesterday.

The entire complex should be up and running by the end of 2013 or early 2014, which is in line with the new target date set last November.

The Sports Hub, a $1.87 billion mega-project built through a public-private partnership, was originally slated to open this year. It would have been the venue of the 2013 SEA Games, had rising construction costs and last year’s financial downturn not scuppered attempts to get it off the ground.

As it became harder to raise funds for the project, the hub’s completion date was pushed back to next year, 2012 and now 2013. These delays forced Singapore to pull out of hosting the 2013 SEA Games last December.

Mr Michael Palmer (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) expressed frustration at the repeated postponements. ‘We have had many final matches at the National Stadium and frankly, it’s becoming a bit of a joke.’

The House was assured by Mr Teo that no further delays were expected. The consortium building the hub – Singapore Sports Hub Consortium – held a funding competition late last year and banks have shown considerable interest, he said.

Mr Teo defended the hub’s public-private partnership model, saying it was not to blame for the delays.

‘It harnesses the efficiencies, innovation, energy and financial rigour of private sector enterprise and banks to bring about a vibrant, compelling, viable and fully utilised public facility,’ he said.

Source: Straits Times, 11 Mar 2010

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