S.Atlantic : Sartma Daily (20/09/05)
Submitted by SARTMA.com (Juanita Brock) 21.09.2005 (Article Archived on 28.09.2005)
A brief run-down of South Atlantic news.
SARTMA DAILY (20/09/05)
Compiled by J. Brock (FINN)
Section 1: Articles by FINN
Section 2: Business News from Tristan da Cunha
Section 3: Police News
Section 4: Announcements
PUBLIC MEETING REPORT
A public meeting, the last of this Council, took place in the Infant/Junior School Hall on Tuesday, 20 September 2005 at 1700. The meeting was chaired by Cllr. The Hon Mr. John Birmingham (JB) and Councillors Cheek (JC), Hansen (IH), Luxton (SL), Edwards, N. (NE), and Summers were present.
Cllr Birmingham welcomed the Cable & Wireless Team, who gave a presentation about the replacement of the old phone exchange that has been in operation for 15 years now. Mr. Rick Hall gave a slide presentation and explained that with the new phone exchange the services could be extended out into Camp and that the spare parts generated from the expansion could be utilized to help maintain the Camp Radio system until 2007. The Softswitch project would begin with the expanded service in and around Stanley (Part “A”) and be completed as technology improves when the Camp Radio System is replaced in 2007 (Part “B”).
The health risks of GSM mobile phones and masts were discussed with Mr. Hall saying that the safety margin is 42 inches and that in the Falklands there will be only one system whereas in the UK there are several systems in operation with thousands of customers each.
Cllr. Edwards asked Mr. Hall whether he could realistically see small communities in the Falklands having a replacement of the Camp Radio System by 2007. Mr. Hall said that technology was improving all the time and that he had his eye on a few systems already. His concern was that if we install a replacement system now it would not be as good as something we could get in 2007 and it would have to be replaced as it became obsolete. The system would last longer if we waited for technological advances.
Phil Middleton asked if a camp radio system like that in the Falklands existed elsewhere in the world. Mr. Hall said it did but there were differences. We, though a small population, had a high per capita income whereas people in Vanuatu had a low per capita income and couldn’t afford a sophisticated system.
When asked about area coverage via mobile phone, Brian Summers said that the phone system would cover nothing north of the mountains but all in front of Wyckham Heights on the Stanley side would receive the Stanley Service. Mr. Hall said that it was envisaged that the service would be Stanley, MPA and along the MPA Road with possible service to Goose Green.
Stuart Wallace wanted to know what affect Voice Over Internet would have to Cable & Wireless’s business. Mr Hall said that it would be devastating but that if it were incorporated into the services that Cable and Wireless offered, then a charge could be made for using the service. Mr. Wallace also asked if Cable & Wireless Accounts could be made public. Mr Hall mentioned that accounts had been given to the Government. He mentioned that as the business in the Falklands was branch of Cable & Wireless world-wide and not a standalone company the accounts may look a little distorted. However, as the business here grows, those distortions will be flattened out.
Barry Elsby asked why he had to pay the same price for his phone service when it was inferior to that available in Stanley. Mr. Hall said that Cable & Wireless recognized that cuts had to be made especially when there were cheaper international rates for mobile phones and not for Camp customers who could not get that service. Using web voice over 24 hours a day at a flat rate would not be an option because some customers would be on it all the time thus clogging up the system for others.
Cllr. Summers wondered how Cable & Wireless could sustain a cheaper international rate for mobile phones and Mr. Hall said that he Cable & Wireless would seek reductions in other areas. He realized that the peak figure for the service wouldn’t be high because of the limited customer base in the Falklands. He also said that halving the cost of services would not immediately result in a dramatic increase in usage. Prices needed to be adjusted gradually.
Finally, a roving system so that new people and tourists could access their mobile phone systems back home was discussed. That service would not be available for at least a year.
After the presentation and questions about Cable and Wireless was completed there was one written question from the public that dealt with the costs incurred in the Gordon Forbes case. Cllr. Birmingham said that he would not be able to discuss this in detail until after Thursday’s ExCo meeting. A press release would be circulated to the media about the costs incurred in the Gordon Forbes case. He did say that the benefits incurred still outweighed any of the costs incurred. “We are still in the black,” Cllr. Birmingham said.
Tim Blake brought up pensions and wondered if part time temporary Government employees had to pay 5% like full time Government employees had to pay. Members of the public needed to know what the policy is. Cllr. Birmingham said he didn’t think this was the case but he would circulate a written answer to the media.
Stuart Wallace commented on a lack of discipline and bullying at the Falkland Islands Community School. Cllr Cheek said she was concerned with the reports and that the subject would be discussed in full at the next Education Board meeting.
Eric Goss brought up the rather unceremonious back filling of graves at the cemetery. He said that people observed this and were shocked by it. Both Cllr. Birmingham and Cllr. Edwards agreed that something had to be done about it.
Tim Blake asked whether there would be instructions in hand-over notes to the new Council about skips at the Eliza Cove tip. Cllr. Birmingham said it depended on the cost and Cllr Cheek wondered if Government could move them themselves.
The last item dealt with whether there was any progress from the Argentine side on the 1999 agreement. Cllr Norma Edwards and Cllr. Cheek agreed there was little progress on place names, etc. The discussion degenerated into whether or not it was right to report the contents of public meetings on the internet.
WHEN IS THE TIME RIGHT FOR FALKLANDS OIL PROSPECTING?
By J. Brock (FINN)
Small hydrocarbons companies with people clocking up years of experience in the business have decided to put their money where their mouth is in high-risk oil exploration in the South Falklands Basin. Known as a frontier province, Falklands waters have been surveyed for hydrocarbons before with stunning success in that the North Falklands Basin contains the second best source rock in the world.
As for waters south of the Islands, they are still being surveyed. However, data thus far has been encouraging enough to commit the entities of Falklands Oil and Gas Limited (FOGL) to heavily invest their own money in order to see what riches data from the seabed around the Falklands holds – an indicator of good news to come.
The bootstraps movement in the South Falklands Basin seems to have paid off because the proper steps have been taken to identify significant areas of interest. 3D surveying those areas makes sense in that they can be eliminated if the geology isn’t right. Nowadays Companies drilling for hydrocarbons using results from 2D surveys only haven’t been in the business for long. FOGL have 3D surveys in mind before any exploratory drilling goes ahead. Seeing that wells are significantly expensive, it pays to know what’s on the seabed before any rig is brought down.
A rig from Brazil could be brought to the area at less expense than one from the North Sea but if the data is right, an appropriate rig would be found. Even if hydrocarbons in commercial quantities are found, it would be several years before those hydrocarbons are extracted. And, what’s more, the well where the first commercial quantities were discovered won’t be the one that is used to tap the resource commercially.
There is always the risk of failure in any oil province as hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation is a high-risk business. As stated before, don’t invest the rent money on it. Investors in the Falklands were told in 1997 that it takes years to explore for and then exploit commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. They know about the waiting game and have invested their money accordingly.
Initial exploration work in the licensed areas now being surveyed is almost complete, with the 3D surveys to come next. If anything, a lot of research and planning went into the Falklands Hydrocarbons industry. Cowboys didn’t willy-nilly make their way to the North and South Falklands Basins with rigs ready to pump out the black gold that would make them and a few Islanders rich.
As for politics with Argentina and other South American entities – five minutes is a long timeand it will take years before we start pumping the black stuff.
So when’s the right time for Falklands oil prospecting? It’s past, Chay! We started in the last century.
LEISURE CENTRE PROPOSED NEW EXERCISE ROOM
By J. Brock (FINN)
With Steve Dent
Keep fit addicts have used exercise machines at the Stanley Leisure Centre to the point that they have been in a state of decline over the past two years. Thanks to access to the gym at Hillside Camp keep fit regimes have been kept up but patrons have been put off by the size of the room – a former storage cupboard - and the deteriorating state of their equipment as well. Spares are also unobtainable.
According to Leisure centre Manager, Steve Dent, “It should be noted that I am still waiting for prices from LifeFitness Chile for supply. LifeFitness in the US initially directed our query to the UK distributor to the nearest distributor to the Falklands. This was in Argentina!”
Cheaper commercial machines, he says, are available on the market, however the machines quoted here are the same machines as used by the MOD at MPC and Hillside therefore guaranteeing availability of spares and expertise in maintaining the machines.
He’s taken statistics from a period when the Machines Room was being used on a regular basis by a number of customers. The breakdown of average usage was as follows;
Exercise Bike 20 users a month
Treadmill 135 users a month
Rower 62 users a month
Stepper 55 users a month
Average income from the above usage is £500.00 per month.
To make a Machines Room a success, changes need to be made in that new machines need to be sourced and ideally a new facility needs to be developed. With this in mind, Steve Dent has prepared three proposals:
Option one is preferred because Squash courts are generally under-utilised and the loss of one court will have minimal impact on the income of the centre. A squash court is a good-sized room that will easily accommodate a number of new machines with room for expansion. The room will need little adaptation with plans to initially carpet tile the room and run a ducted electrical circuit around the edge of the room negating the need for permanent change to usage. Additionally the Leisure Centre would be able to utilise the current Machine Room for storage as it was initially intended.
This option allows for an anticipated increase in users as more facilities are developed over time. It is planned under this option to increase the number of machines by 50% therefore anticipating an increase of 50% of usage over time. With the on-going development of the Exercise Referral scheme this figure should be achieved in a reasonably short period of time.
The breakdown for this option is £42.263.00 for the Exercise Machines, £2,190.00 for room fittings with £9,000.00 income it will take 4 years to repay the expenditure.
Converting the Squash Court has the same number of machines in place as at present. There is however scope to allow for an anticipated increase in users as more facilities are developed over time. This option involves a lower initial outlay of funds with a longer repayment period reflecting the anticipated low initial usage figures.
By using the current location we would save on converting the squash court but it is felt that usage would not increase, as the actual space is unsuitable and there is no room for expansion. However, it is felt that while usage will not increase, the income will stay as it is now and the Machines Room income will remain steady.
The breakdown for this option is that it will cost £25,857.00 and that the income will be £6,000.00 a month. At this rate it will take four years to pay off.
It is clear that a major change is needed in order to keep the Machines Room a viable option. The Leisure Centre and the KEMH are currently undertaking a review of the Exercise Referral Scheme and the re-development of the Machines Room with room for adaptation will ensure that progress is made.
At the next Standing Finance Committee Meeting, Members should note that an allocation of funding to 0257 0613 (maintenance) will need to be made to ensure that the machines are constantly maintained to a high level. Approximately £1500.00 a year is estimated to be enough to cover this. Provision to replace these machines in 4-5 years will also need to be factored in as the machines will be obsolete by this time and again spare parts will be an issue.
TRISTAN’S FACTORY WORKERS STRIKE FOR A HIGHER NEGOTIATED PAY RAISE
By Sarah Glass (SARTMA – TdC)
News received from the Island on September 13th indicated that the women at the Lobster Processing Factory have gone on strike for more pay. The part-time workers recently got a pay guarantee of nearly 9p per box of Lobster Tails but they want 15p per box for the back breaking work. They are negotiating with the newly appointed Factory Manager, McKenzie, but thus far their bid of 15p per box has not been accepted.
On average the women process between 300 and 550 boxes of lobster tail per fishing day and it is felt that due to the value of the catch their share should be greater. Seeing that the dollar to pound rate has become better in recent months – the Lobster tail is bought and sold in US Dollars - the women feel they have a good cause.
It is not known yet if the strike has been resolved but it is thought that some of the women might return to work regardless of the pay.
On Saturday, 17 September 2005 at 1930 a 999 call was received about a cooker on fire at the OK Corral Flats. Police and Fire and Rescue attended as well as an electrician. The fire was put out and the electrical system made safe by 2008 hrs.
On 18 September 2005 at 2324 there was the report of a fight at the OK Corral Flats. Police attended and arrests were made.
At 1820 on 18 September 2005 a helicopter was tasked to the football pitch to assist with a medivac.
The Royal Falkland Islands Police recently introduced a ‘Vehicle off Road Notification’ system. The system is designed to provide a method by which vehicle owners can formally notify the Vehicle Licensing Bureau that their vehicle is off the road and therefore not liable for Vehicle Licence fee.
The system is offered on a voluntary basis to assist our customers.
If anyone has any questions or would like to use the system you are invited to call into Stanley Police Station, telephone on 27222 or e-mail email@example.com, where my staff will be happy to assist.
The Stanley Leisure Centre regret to inform their customers that the second Squash Court is now closed until further notice due to maintenance. Please do not hesitate to contact the Stanley Leisure Centre for more information.
The public are advised that IAW provisions of sub section 4 of Section 30 of the Planning Ordinance 1991, the list of Applications received fro planning permission is now displayed on the Public Notice Board on the Ground Floor of the Secretariat. These applications may be inspected during normal working hours at the Office of the Secretary of the Planning and Building Committee, Environmental Planning Department, Malvina House Gardens. Comments on the applications should be made in writing and sent to the Environmental Planning Officer, Environmental Planning Department, PO Box 611 Stanley, within 10 days of this notice dated 20 September 2005.
The Museum would like to remind all “Pathfinders” members that the next meeting will be this Thursday in the Museum from 1630 to 1730.
There will be power cut between Dean Street and Fitzroy Road at 1400 on Wednesday, 21 September 2005 for about 1 hour. Service has to be interrupted for the safe removal of a porta-cabin.