Local contractors sought to build radar tower

| 15/11/2011

RTEmagicC_GematronikHaus.jpg(CNS): The local airport authority has issued a request for proposal for the construction of a four-storey concrete tower that will house the planned Doppler weather radar on part of the former Prison Farm in East End. Two contracts have already been awarded to German companies to manufacture, supply and install the digital radar itself and for the technician. The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) said SELEX Systems Integration will make and put up the radar while the Icon-Institute won the bid to provide a Technical Assistant on contract, for the duration of the project.

Reporting to the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA), the Technical Assistant is responsible for ensuring that all financial and procedural activities of the project are in accordance with the requirements of the European Union (EU) – the scheme’s primary sponsor, the CIAA said in a release from government Tuesday.

The local contract for the concrete tower is now open the CIAA’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Jackson said.  “It is anticipated that the construction tender will be awarded in December and the tower should be completed by July next year, to coincide with the radar’s arrival. The final phase will be the set-up of equipment within the building and staff training.”

He said the facility will benefit the public and airlines by providing accurate weather information to forecasters and pilots and it will also serve the region by filling “a black hole in terms of regional radar coverage,” Jackson added.

Minister for District Administration, Works, Land and Agriculture Juliana O’Connor-Connolly added that the radar station would serve the country’s long-term national interest and described it as “an invaluable opportunity for the Cayman Islands to become an integrated regional player in respect of hurricane preparedness,” she stated.

The early warning system is expected to improve disaster risk management and reduction in the Caribbean region but it has faced some controversy.

The decision to site the radar project at the East end location on the former site of the prison farm was also the site that had been earmarked by CUC as the potential home of Cayman’s first wind farm to address the country’s oil dependency problem and take a first step towards sustainable energy provision.

The government opted to prioritise the radar over the wind farm which is being mostly funded through the European Union which government said had taken the Cabinet office years to secure.

“With increasingly volatile weather we sorely need improved forecasting abilities – something this project will deliver,” O’Connor-Connolly who is also the minster with responsibility for energy, said.

The CIAA and the EU signed a contract for the radar more than two and a half years ago in March 2009, when the EU agreed to provide Cayman with a grant for €4.16 million (about CI$4.6 million) to construct the early warning weather radar. The Cayman Islands Government is making its own contribution to the project by providing the site, the access road, and funding a technical consultancy service from the Caribbean Meteorological Organization.

“Apart from giving Cayman access to real-time local weather information, the radar station will also strengthen regional severe weather forecasting, linking with radar stations in Belize, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago,” Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) Director General, Fred Sambula, said. “This means that Cayman will get more accurate, timely and up-to-date information when storms or any other weather systems threaten our area, and, as such, our residents can better prepare.”

According to the central tenders website the four  storey reinforced concrete tower will cover approximately 800 sq ft in and be around  55.5 ft high and the open tender process will end on 2 December details of the bid can be found at www.centraltenders.gov.ky


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  1. anonymous says:

    I understand that the Government has waived the requirement for Planning Permission and as a result no one in the area will have a chance to discuss the damaging effects of these radar beams on their health. If it is true that this radar can pick up rain and wind all the way to south america these folks are likely to be living in danger from its power. 

    We have many people living in that area and the ones I spoke to said this is the first they know about a radar going near their homes.

    What is this government thinking of? Can someone investigate please. 

    • Castor says:

      Where is the experimental mtest wind turbine? All cancelled because of the Dopler. Think electricity, a commodity that effects all of our daily lives and pocket books.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unless I am completely mistaken a Trinidadian Architect been hired for this project.  Why ? and particularly when we have local expertise looking for work and the architecture involved is minimal, if anything at all.

  3. Adam Smith says:

    This should go out to general non-discriminatory tender.  This Government needs to start to be seen to be delivering value for money.

  4. Absurdistani says:

    Are there any grants available for clean energy?

  5. Anonymous says:

    We need radar to spot drug smuggling on Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands as well.

    • Anonymouse says:

      They tried that, remember? It didn't work.

      Footnote: The US Government put up a radar station on Grand Cayman to assist with drug interdiction. It helped so little that it was closed down shortly after it opened. There are more effective ways to deal with drugs than dedicated land-based radar stations.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, the radar was very effective so much so that when the US left they offered it to the Cayman Government but they turned down the offer….enquiring minds want to know. Can't wait to hear why!!!

        Surely it would have tracked that little cessna from the time it took off until it hit the cliff rocks on the bluff….hmmm…….Maybe I answered my own question.