Government awaiting Linden’s choice for 400m synthetic track, says Director of Sport
… Residents to decide between MSC and BayrocBy Joe ChapmanIINTEREST is gaining momentum in Linden with regard to acquiring a 400m synthetic athletics track, as residents debate the best venue for this much-needed facility.Director of Sport Christopher Jones has been visiting Linden frequently to hear the views of residents and stakeholders of the venue to have the facility laid down for the sport-mad town and this has been a hot topic.Initially the focus was to find a place that could accommodate the 400m track and off the bat the Mackenzie Sports Club was suggested.However, this was reviewed and the Director of Sport did say that a venue other than the Mackenzie Sports Club was being pursued since that facility, if considered, would necessitate encompassing private lands which could pose some problems, since the existing venue cannot accommodate a track of the international size required.Subsequently, on request, Jones and Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland discussed the kinks with the MSC Executive and its readiness to have such a track being considered coming to the club.Several considerations, including the operations of the club, were looked into and other general concerns emanating from the public about how it was managed were looked into at those meetings.Mayor Holland and Member of Parliament Jermain Figueira have also been involved and a stakeholders’ meeting was held last Saturday at the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) building where the Mackenzie Sports Club Executive was represented, led by president Avery Trim, general secretary Victor Wright and other members drawn from the community gave their take on where the 400m track could be placed.But the twists continued, as the Bayroc Community Centre field, in the early 1970s, was earmarked to have a stadium built on its vast land space, and another in Amelia’s Ward.In recent times, however, the MSC ground has been placed back on the front burner for consideration, along with the Bayroc Centre field. To start this project in Amelia’s Ward from scratch, certainly was not what government had envisioned.So the debate has started and residents are expressing their views on this much-needed facility coming to Linden where apart from Georgetown, no other town has produced more promising athletes.The recent testimony is the National Schools track and field, swimming and cycling championships where Linden District 10 (Upper Demerara/Kwakwani) dominated with most titles, fifteen, in the history of those games.Two athletes from Linden were given recognition by the Athletics Association of Guyana when they performed well and represented Guyana last year.It was felt by many that the Bayroc Community Centre was the better venue and had much room for expansion with its sprawlning land space.The concern of congestion and parking area also seemed out of the question because of the land available there also.The main concern, however, at Bayroc is the open sesame of that facility which means that several considerations would have to be undertaken simultaneously to put down such a track as regards security in general.This certainly has not been budgeted for with government, as Jones made it clear at this time that the laying down of the 400m track was sole priority.The danger of vandalising the costly facility therefore factored in with placing such a structure in a virtual open space,. It really does not bode well for the track being placed at Bayroc, unless some other arrangements through financing can be guaranteed because this is a cause for worry.This is where the MSC ground comes back into serious contention without such cause for worry. The MSC officials explained at length that adequate parking space can be made available to the west of the ground and to the north which would have to be adjusted beyond the existing fence to accommodate a plan done by the Linden bauxite operations Chinese firm BOSAI’s Minerals Group (Guyana) Inc. Engineering Department.The survey was done and the necessary drawings were handed over to the Director of Sport for his consideration, showing where such a track can fit at the MSC ground with some modifications to the plan, and this has made the chances of it being placed there encouraging.The attendant security concerns would be greatly reduced and the money to be spent in general would be cut in a huge way if the MSC is chosen and which could make room for other modernisation to the facility which was first donated to the community by the bauxite industry in 1956.But the perceived cramped and apparent closeness to the track which is a concern to some, club officials countered saying it is no different from what obtains at some international venues.Director of Sport Christopher Jones has therefore thrown out the challenge to the stakeholders in Linden where the Mayor of Linden, Regional officials and identified stakeholders must come up with a decision, sooner rather than later, as to where they, not government, would like to have this international- size track laid down.Another stakeholders’ meeting is being planned by the Mayor and MP Figueira to make a final decision for this track to become a reality in Linden this year.