General News of Friday, 13 April 2018
Contractors working on the $1.5 billion Tema Port Expansion project have demolished the Ave Maria Resort and Wellness Centre after several years of litigation. A major hospitality facility in the Tema metropolis, the centre was pulled down as land reclamation works at the construction site had swallowed a large chunk of the land on which the resort was situated.
The centre previously hosted canopy and, wooden walkways, with sitting areas built into the sea.
The features of the facility enabled visitors to walk and catch a glimpse of the famous “Meridian Rock” and also relax while enjoying the breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.
Ave Maria, originally known as the Halcrow Beach Club, was built in the early 1950s by Sir W. Halcrow, a consultant assigned to the construction of the then Tema Harbour.
The facility hosted the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, during her visit to Ghana in 1962.
Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was a patron of the facility in the 1960s.
Ave Maria Holdings acquired the property under a divestiture implementation scheme in May 2002 and upgraded it into an international tourist hotel with conferencing, sporting, entertainment, health and wellness facilities.
The demolition started with disconnection of electricity and water supplies to the facility by the officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA). The chalets, swimming pool and other structures were pulled down yesterday.
Excavators were busily pulling down the structures, when the Daily Graphic visited the site last Tuesday. Some port construction workers simultaneously cleared the debris.
According to port authorities, the demolition would make way for a container holding area for the new port, being developed by the Meridian Port Services (MPS) Ltd and its partners on public, private partnership (PPP) basis.
The owner of the facility, Mrs Teresa Efua Ntim, who is yet to receive any form of compensation on the facility, has since vacated the facility.
Mrs Ntim, who engaged the GPHA in a legal tussle, expressed concern about how the port authority had failed to adequately compensate her to enable her to look for an alternative location to develop a similar facility.
She said valuations had been done by the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) and submitted to the GPHA as a basis for compensation but that had been ignored by the port officials.
The General Manager in charge of Marketing and Public Relations at the GPHA, Ms Esther Gyebi-Donkor, however, told the Daily Graphic that presently, the Accra High Court was interrogating the various valuation reports from the Lands Commission, AESL as well as another agency on behalf of Ave Maria to determine the right compensation to be paid.