The long awaited Brian Lara Stadium is expected to wel-come cricket in the new year and plans are afoot to host the opening ceremony of the 2017 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at the venue in Tarouba, South Trinidad.
Completion work on the controversial venue was restarted under the present government after the building was left idle for several years needing completion before it could be occupied.
Work has been ongoing for almost a year now and sources close to the government told the Sunday Guardian that the government of the day plan to bid for the opening ceremony to take place at the venue which should coincide with the official opening of the ground, which is July, 2017.
According to the source: “The stadium is owned by the government and of course the owners of the CPL will be looking to use it because it would be cheaper than the Oval. The venue is world class for what it offers in terms of ‘live’ broadcast and this will be a great fit for the CPL which is called the greatest party in sport when it comes to the game’s T20 format.”
CPL rents the Queen’s Park Oval for an average of US$40,000 per day (an estimated TT$300,000) and now the government can use the facility to negotiate with the organisers to have more matches played in T&T.
Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) Noel Garcia revealed a couple months ago that 15 packages out of 17 were awarded to contractors and work is ongoing at the site in Tarouba.
Clean up work at the site has been completed, structural work is ongoing and nearing completion.
General repair and rehabilitation works on the building are going together with work on the field (the grass has been replanted), work on the pavilion is almost over and officials are looking at closing out work on the facility for the latest January, 2017.
The initial cost given in 2006 for the stadium was $500 million TT dollars, when construction started to have it ready for the T&T leg of the 2007 ICC Limited Overs World Cup for which T&T secured the Brown package.
However, with the cost overruns and the increase in prices of materials, this amount has increased significantly.
The Chairman of UDECOTT, as of June 2008, Calder Hart, had placed the approximate completion date at July 2008, some two years after the initial schedule handover. Now it should be ready nine years on.
This stadium will serve as a training facility for cricket players.
It will feature four indoor cricket training pitches with computerised biometric technology to measure an athlete’s performance, including two full-length run-up pitches for fast-bowlers.
Patrons at the stadium will have an unhindered view from every area of the facility, including the concessionaires area.
It also has areas specifically de-signed for the print, radio and television media, respectively.