As at date, two blocks of the Special Mobile Force (SMF) Married Quarters Complex have been pulled down as part of the project for the construction of a gymnasium which has been designed in such a way that it blends harmoniously with the surrounding environment. The works, which have started in June 2020, are expected to be completed in August 2021.
This information was provided by the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, today, in the National Assembly, in reply to a Parliamentary Question pertaining to the proposed construction of a gymnasium and allied facilities onsite the former SMF Married Quarters.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the location of the Ex-Wooden Married Quarters Complex along Willoughby Road in Vacoas had been identified back in 2014 for the construction of the new gymnasium as it is adjacent to the SMF Main Gate at Abercromby Barracks and, therefore, easily accessible to SMF personnel. The site, he underlined, comprises seven blocks which have wooden structures and roofs covered with asbestos slates.
As the blocks were in a very bad state, he outlined, their demolition was recommended by the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure, as far back as April 2008. He stressed that following a survey carried out by the said Ministry at that time, the latter recommended the pulling down of the buildings as these were beyond economical repairs for the following reasons: the presence of asbestos; heavy leakages; the presence of termites; damaged false ceilings; and cracked wooden planks.
Prime Minister Jugnauth also informed that despite the SMF Married Quarters Complex not being listed as a national heritage in accordance with the National Heritage Act 2003, the SMF consulted the then Ministry of Arts and Culture, in October 2011, prior to the demolition of the SMF Abercromby Married Quarters.
He pointed out that the SMF subsequently decided on its own to preserve and renovate two of these buildings because of their historical value. One of the buildings has been renovated and is actually occupied by the SMF Centralised Training Wing, while the other has been partly renovated and is being used for Urban Search and Rescue Training of the Disaster Response Unit of the SMF, he added.