Fort Regent re-development is favoured option for new Conference Centre

The results of the first industry poll are in. I asked for your preference when it came to a new conference centre for Jersey. An overwhelming majority - 73% in fact - are in favour of the re-development of Fort Regent. Only 9% thought a new centre on The Waterfront was a good idea.

I have to confess to being slightly surprised at the level of support for the re-development of Fort Regent. OK - it's certainly got the space and it is the cheaper option. But can we successfully overcome the access issues & how do we deal with the strong voice of the local sportsmen & women who believe the Fort should be retained exclusively for the use of islanders in pursuit of their favourite leisure activity?

A few years ago I was a member of the Jersey Conference Bureau board and in that time a study was carried out into the merits of converting the upper level of the rotunda into a conference centre. If I remember correctly the cost of the project was about £8m. The problem was(as usual) where was the money going to come from. In a period of cost squeezing, The States simply would not stump up the cash, unless there was a really strong case for doing so. Especially when they could incur the wrath of their own electorate for changing the use of the building to the detriment of islanders.

At least there is pretty high level of consensus within the industry as to what should be done. So perhaps it's time to dig out those old plans and look again at Fort Regent. I believe we need a modern conference centre - and we need it sooner rather than later.

Thanks to those of you who voted in the Conference Centre poll. There'll be another one soon. If there's a subject you would like to see put to the industry's vote then why not let me know - just add a comment to this post.

1 comment:

Steve Beddoe said...

I am pleased that Fort Regent was chosen as the prefferd option for a conference centre by the voters. Although it has a number of negatives to overcome. It has a number of positives that far outwiegh those negatives.
It is stunning visually from afar and once there the vistas are second to none.Two attributes that provide the starting blocks to create a world class convention centre.