An online petition calling on ministers to ‘restore Fort Regent to its former glory’ has passed the 1,000-signature mark, prompting a response from Deputy Lewis.
The minister said the cable cars were being demolished with the pool set to follow next year – two elements the petition asks be reinstated – as ‘they are well beyond the point of restoration’. However, Deputy Lewis added that ministers were keen to see improvements made at Fort Regent.
The complex has suffered from years of under-investment and areas of the facility are beginning to pose a threat to public safety.
Assistant Economic Development Minister Steve Pallett, who has responsibility for sport, has previously spoken about the need for a political champion to keep Fort Regent on the agenda.
In his response to the petition, Deputy Lewis said: ‘The Council of Ministers is committed to devising and executing a plan to make best use of the Fort Regent site over the next 50 years. Fort Regent has served Jersey well for the last 50 years and it is clear that many Islanders have a deep affection for, and fond memories of, time spent within the Fort complex.
‘As time has gone on, maintenance has become more of an issue and there are areas in much need of refurbishment. There have been many ideas about the future of Fort Regent but for various reasons they have not been taken further.
‘Until the future plans have been decided, it has been prudent to carry out only the necessary maintenance to keep it safe and operational. Work is in train to demolish the derelict cable car station and will commence in the new year on the former pool, both of which are well beyond the point of restoration.’
He added that government could not let the ageing facility ‘continue to decline’ and that a review of the previous work and current state of the site was being undertaken.
‘We are currently putting together a team to analyse past work undertaken, the current state of the Fort and what it offers the public,’ Deputy Lewis said. ‘The present government has a strong will to explore the Fort’s potential and turn it into somewhere we can be proud of for the next 50 years.’