The Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Victoria Urban Terminal, a project funded by the private sector to the tune of some Rs 1.9 billion, was performed, on Friday 29 November 2019, by the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at Victoria Square, in Port Louis.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government, Disaster and Risk Management, Dr Anwar Husnoo, the Chairman of Victoria Station Ltd, Mr Colin Taylor, and other personalities were present. The Victoria Urban Terminal, a major component of the regeneration of the urban landscape, is expected to be completed in 2021 and will be constructed by the Victoria Station Limited consortium. A first-of-its-kind multimodal complex, the Terminal, revolves around a redefined architecture including the restoration of the ex-NTA building, provision of space for leisure activities, food courts, shops and lucrative commercial activities as well as historical monuments.
In his address, the Prime Minister spoke about the necessity to modernise and upgrade the infrastructure of the Victoria Bus Terminal particularly as it is located in the capital of Mauritius. He further indicated that with each development project, as is the present case in the public transport sector with the modern advent of the Metro Express, we could not allow the Victoria Bus Terminal to operate without adequate infrastructure for users and service providers.
According to him, there are around 200 000 people who transit, and more than 350 buses that operated at the Victoria Bus Terminal, thus the importance to set in motion this modern development in Port Louis. Moreover, there will be Urban Terminals all along the route of the Metro Express, that is, not only at the Victoria Bus Terminal, but also at Immigration Square in Port Louis which serves the northern region, La Place Margéot in Rose Hill as well as in Quatre Bornes, Vacoas and Curepipe, he recalled. These Terminals will transform the urban landscape of the country, he said. Development projects in the future will also be undertaken in Flacq, Goodlands and Mahebourg, he announced.
Each Terminal will pave the way for new poles of economic development such as in real estate, and land property, and there is no doubt that these projects will make Mauritians proud as they will enhance the attractiveness of our cities, the Prime Minister emphasised. He also lauded public-private partnership and pointed out that the private sector has a crucial role to play in the development process of Mauritius with investment capital and projects, and with Government acting as facilitator.
In addition, Mr Jugnauth said that electric feeder buses will be provided to enhance the public transport system and Chinese collaboration will be sought out accordingly. These buses, to cover a zone of 5 to 8 kilometers and service the Metro stations, will take into consideration the aspect of the protection of the environment.
Speaking about the situation of hawkers, the Prime Minister highlighted that they will be able to operate in the future at the Victoria Urban Terminal. One thousand hawkers, who will become true entrepreneurs, will be given a strategic, fixed, modern and secured spot to work, where there will be a mass of people transiting daily. The Prime Minister also made an appeal to those affected by the works to be patient and to be indulgent as with any development project certain inconveniences will crop up and sacrifice is needed. However, once the project is completed people will realise that the progress has been made for their own benefit, for the capital and for the country in general, he added.
For his part, Vice-Prime Minister Husnoo, recalled that the Victoria Bus Terminal was initially a train station that became operational back in 1864 and later became a Bus Terminal in the 1900s. This Terminal is a historical site and today Mauritius is undergoing a modenisation phase with regards to the transport system which constitutes an extraordinary transformation with the taking in shape on ground of the Victoria Urban Terminal project, he stated. The Minister further spoke about the different amenities and facilities that will be available once the project is completed.
In his speech, Mr Taylor indicated that the Victoria Urban Terminal will be a game changer for Port Louis and will regenerate the capital by ushering a new dynamism in the economic and trade sectors. This infrastructure project, which has as main aim to enhance the lives of citizens, will add to the modernisation process of Mauritius and is called upon to become a model of development for other regions of the country in the future, he remarked.
The Victoria Urban Terminal project, spreading over an area of 5.25 acres, will house a terminal comprising 22 stands, offices on area of 2 992 m2, a parking area of 400 spaces over 2 200 m2, the Victoria Market on 7 200 m2, the Victoria Shopping Centre on 8 480 m2, a supermarket on 2 448 m2, and a food court of 1 049 m2. Some 1 000 hawkers will also be accommodated in the complex.
The Terminal will comprise several facilities, namely: a modern and visually aesthetic bus terminal with enough bus bays to ensure a modern and efficient transportation network; office space; a Hawker area to accommodate hawkers in a secured controlled space which will benefit from the flow of passengers; parking facilities; a pedestrian link ("esplanade") to link the terminal with the Metro Express Terminal; green space; taxi stand; and commercial spaces and other amenities.
Additionally, a shuttle service between the Victoria Urban Terminal and Victoria Metro Station and three new temporary bus alighting/boarding platforms will be provided with two new feeder routes will be provided through the main regions of Port Louis.