Sports Hub may now be ready only by 2012

Sports Hub may now be ready only by 2012

 

SPORTS fans who have been excitedly awaiting the construction and completion of a new $1.87 billion playground will just have to wait a little longer.

 

The completion date for the Singapore Sports Hub, which will have a world-class stadium and aquatic facilities, has again been pushed back – and looks likely to be ready only by 2012.

 

It is not just sports fans who are crestfallen.

 

The two-year delay has also disappointed some national sports associations, who were hoping to bid to host world-class competitions at the new venue.

 

Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping said: ‘I hope there will be no further delays, or it’ll upset our plans to try to bring back the successful Rugby 7s tournament.’

 

When the Sports Hub project was first announced in April 2005, construction was scheduled to begin last year and to end by 2010. The date was pushed to mid-2011 the following year.

 

Last June, the Government added a late requirement after the three bidders had submitted their designs. It wanted a public water sports centre added.

 

So, it was back to the drawing board for the parties and a delay of several more months as amendments were made.

 

Subsequently, the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) won the bid in January and a final contract was expected to be inked with the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) in late March, and the National Stadium torn down soon after.

 

But delays, as the contract’s financial and legal details were worked out between the SSC and the consortium, gave the 35-year-old stadium a reprieve and the chance to host one final tournament – the Lions’ recent World Cup qualifiers.

 

Nearly all the paperwork has been settled now and the mega-project looks set to move forward.

 

Said a source involved in the discussions: ‘There’s finally light at the end of the tunnel, compared to a few months ago when we still looked to be deep in darkness.’

 

Sports Hub project director Poh Yu Khing said that the matter should be viewed in perspective.

 

‘As this is the world’s largest sports infrastructure public-private partnership project, it is imperative that more time is spent to ensure every aspect is carefully reviewed and taken care of.’

 

It is in the SSHC’s interests to conclude negotiations and ink the contract quickly.

 

This would mark the start of the public-private partnership (PPP) project’s 25-year lifeline, under which the SSHC would begin receiving an annual sum from the Government to build, run and maintain the Sports Hub.

 

Located on a 35ha site, the hub’s centrepiece is a new 55,000-seater complete with retractable roof, on the site occupied by the National Stadium.

 

It will also include a 6,000-capacity indoor Aquatic Centre, and a 3,000-capacity multi-purpose indoor arena.

 

Barring any major hiccups, the hub should still be ready by 2013 when Singapore hosts the 27th South-east Asia Games.

 

The hosting of the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010 will not be affected. Various venues islandwide will stage the 26 sports for the Olympics for the young, with the opening and closing ceremonies at the Marina Bay floating platform.

 

Source: Straits Times

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