Lucy Stephenson – Sport Back On Fort Agenda

Lucy Stephenson has exclusively given Sportscast Jersey a comment about the news that came out this week about Fort Regent plans being scrapped, and how this could be a positive for sport in the building.

Here is what Jersey’s Minister of Sport had to say to us.

‘I welcome the decision of ministers to move away from previous plans for Fort Regent and believe it presents a fresh opportunity for us to get sport back on the agenda for discussions about the facility’s future.

The plans as presented by the previous government are unaffordable in the current economic climate and relied heavily on a casino for future sustainability. I do not believe there is current political or public appetite to open a casino in Jersey, especially given that such a facility would need to rely on local trade to make it profitable. However good a redevelopment of Fort Regent would be for the Island, I would not personally want to see it reliant on the people of Jersey needing to spend their hard earned cash in a casino.

My understanding is that ministers remain committed to agreeing a way forward for Fort Regent, but one that is realistic, affordable and sustainable. We need to find a solution which is right for Jersey.

During my engagement with sports and other stakeholders in recent months it’s been made clear that there remains a lot of interest in Fort Regent retaining some kind of sport provision in the future. There’s also a shortage of certain types of facilities and flexible space, especially in a central location which can be easily accessed. We also need play facilities for our children in and around St Helier, including an indoor soft play. For these reasons I will work to champion Fort Regent as a future community facility and encourage ministers to consider getting sport back into the Fort in some way.

However, we’ve got to be realistic. The Fort as it currently stands is not fit for purpose. And once the Active gym at Springfield opens and the Fort one closes sport facilities staff will also move to Springfield. It is not sustainable under the current model to staff the two sites long term. And for that reason the plan remains the same – to continue the decant of sport from Fort Regent.

I am in the process of writing to those still with tenancies in place at the Fort to reassure them that they have a home there until the new facilities planned for them are ready.’

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