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An artist's impression of the new Crown Point airport in Tobago.

Loyse Vincent

Up until late yesterday the entrance to Crompstain Trace, on the Old Store Bay Local Road, remained unobstructed and residents say they will resist any attempt to block access or prevent them from accessing their properties.

This is after project contractor, China Railway Construction Caribbean Limited, issued notices to the residents informing them of the permanent closure of the road, to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic as of August 9.

Crompstain Trace is one of the two main access points used by residents to access their properties.

Meanwhile project managers National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) is assuring that all steps are being taken to ensure that residents who still occupy lands to be acquired for the ANR Robinson Airport Expansion project are continuously updated on details of the construction work, and the negotiation process for the properties is ongoing.

Guardian Media received notice from a group of about 40 residents who make up what’s known as Block D of the project of their intention to stage a protest if the road is blocked off yesterday.

The residents who are part of the Provide Equitable Equivalent Compensation for Everyone Movement (PEECE), said the notice was hand-delivered to them, however, they do not want the road to be closed. Member of the group Wolwin Lovell said he intends to stand his ground.

“I was at home all day, and I spoke with my neighbours and we all agreed that we will continue to use that road and we will not allow anyone to close this road because until I am compensated this in my property.”

Lovell who said the residents “are not against development” called on NIDCO to compensate the property owners so that they can relocate. He said living in the area has become difficult as they are constantly overcome with dust, noise and mud when it rains.

Guardian Media reached out NIDCO President Esther Farmer who said the residents were informed of the closure of the road through the media and several other notices since June 29. The notices also gave details of alternative routes, where residents could “safely access their properties” as construction work on the ANR Robinson Airport Expansion project resumed in July.

“Notices were placed in the newspapers; it was also placed in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette and residents were given individual notices. This was also done for other notices in keeping with our policy of full disclosure, this is reinforcement and not necessarily news.”

She assured that the negotiation process has resumed but she could not give details of how many additional residents were compensated following the resumption of the project in July.

“We are negotiating, and we are trying our best to make sure that everybody is fairly compensated as we have done with the other property owners. We have tried to give everybody what their property is worth as you saw previously done with other property owners.”

NIDCO Chairman Herbert George previously told Guardian Media that the project “will require the acquisition of 126 properties.”

Thus far the Ministry of Finance approved payments for 115 property owners who were paid $183 million for 30.33 acres of the 53 acres needed for the ANR Robinson Airport Expansion project.