Residents in Sandown are no closer to knowing what the future holds for Dinosaur Isle, despite it being discussed during last night’s Isle of Wight council (IWC) meeting (catch up here).
How many partners involved with bids?
The meeting began with a public question from Paul Coueslant of Sandown Hub. He asked,
“Following the reply to my question PQ 49/19 to the Leader of the Council about the Dinosaur Isle procurement process, please can he explain how many prospective partners remain involved and the latest status of the Council’s dialogue with them?”
Stewart: Potential consortia
Without revealing how many partners are involved, Cllr Dave Stewart (Con) replied,
“Following the publication of the invitation to tender, known as the ITT, the Council has been in dialogue as part of its procurement process.
“This is currently with potential consortias [sic] and it is hoped that the dialogue will shortly lead to a timetable being agreed for its conclusion.”
Major project in final stages
However, Cllr Stewart went on to add a little more context during the presentation of his report to the full council. He told the meeting that the procurement process for Dinosaur Isle was in the final stages.
Cllr Stewart said this “major project” would include huge range of facilities to attract visitors to the Island.
Stewart: An unrivalled tourism offer
Adding that it had “attracted interest from significant private sector partners”, who were now involved in the procurement process, he said,
“If it comes to fruition we will have an unrivalled tourism offer right in the heart of the Bay coastal community area, boosting the economy of Sandown, Lake, Shanklin and beyond.”
Ward: “Nebulous ideas” fill vacuum
Cllr Ian Ward (Con), IW councillor for Sandown South, said,
“Residents need to see clear movement, when there’s a vacuum people become impatient and will try to fill it with nebulous ideas, that may disrupt this important project.
Referring to Cllr Andre’s vision for an Eden Project Community in the Bay, he asked for reassurance that IWC “will not be relying on popular statements from members across the chamber” and that “actual steps are underway on this project”.
Cllr Stewart confirmed that steps are underway in the procurement process, and they are seeking to complete it in timely manner.
“Assets are precious and people expect projects to be delivered on time and in budget.”
Eden project vision
Cllr Stewart noted the vision that had been presented by Cllr Andre (Island Indie Group) for an Eden Project.
He acknowledged it was ambitious, and encouraged her to work with the heritage lead member (Cllr Hastings) to see what practical opportunities can be added to the existing project work with ARC Consulting and the Biosphere Centre at Branstone as part of the Dinosaur Isle project.