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One of the top 20 young architecture practices of Spain has won the opportunity to develop a new generation of homes for St Helena. A jury of local residents decided to award BILBOKO ARKITEKTURA TALDEA (Bilbao Architecture Team) the first prize for a number of reasons. Among the public comments about the winning project ‘Giving Identity’ – entries included:

• ‘it makes the most of the island’s natural attributes and scenery’

• ‘wonderful – would fit well with the island’

• ‘bamboo and use of rock is outstanding’

• ‘I like the shape, the use of local resources, the recognition of the community environment and the integrated understanding of Saint Helena’

• ‘sense of light, space and community’

• ‘a really nice design and could be sold on the island’

• ‘a well thought out design….. which I feel suits St Helena, especially the use of bamboo, which grows wild around my area….the research shows they know what they are talking about and have used a sustainable way to design housing.’

• ‘it uses natural materials, saves energy ... and the resources can be found here’ ‘BAT had have really researched the Island’s climate and its geology’ according to Acting Governor Owen O’Sullivan ‘The arguments made in favour of the design material were very powerful and it could offer St Helena a long term source of industry and employment. The design will appeal equally to low income and more affluent residents and is very adaptable to the demands of different households. But most of all it was the public reaction to the exhibition of the finalists which was entirely positive.’

While giant bamboo already grows on St Helena, SHG needs to work out how much additional land may be needed. At the same time a bamboo processing micro industry needs to be set up. The Government and Enterprise St Helena are therefore keen to work with investors and businesses to make this happen. Anyone who wants to invest in a sustainable future for the Island should contact Andy Crowe via his email: andy-crowe@enrd.gov.sh

 Second place went to London based practice Charabanc. The judges were impressed by the emphasis on community living and promotion of gabion construction. The green spaces and pedestrian walkway were also praised. Another young London practice, Imaginary Rock, won the third place in the competition. The jury were impressed by the same mix of volcanic rock foundations and bamboo as suggested by BAT and a ‘climatic shading skin’ which uses climbing plants to create shade.

Kirsty Joshua, of ESH Business Services, who was on the panel, said: “Taking into account the demand for housing on Island in the future, the winning concept - ‘Giving Identity’ - was the jury’s preferred design. It demonstrated forward thinking , originality, ease of build and flexibility in terms of family requirements.” The winning designs are to be displayed this September in London and Birmingham, where the winners will receive their awards.


8 May 2013



A programme called the Joy of Stats will be broadcast on local TV on Monday 13 May at 7:30pm, repeating on Wednesday 15 and Friday 17 May, both at 7:30pm. ‘The Joy of Stats is a highly engaging, informative, enjoyable programme’, says Paula McLeod, St Helena’s Statistician. She added: ‘There is nothing boring about statistics the presenter, Professor Hans Rosling, claims. He goes on to prove it.’

The hour-long documentary explores the history of statistics and shows how they are used today. It explores advances in how we visualise data to bring information alive using huge quantities of data to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development.

We are taken on a rollercoaster ride through the world of data and statistics to explore the remarkable power that they have to change our understanding of the world.

The approach is light and witty but brings home a serious message - without statistics we are cast adrift on an ocean of confusion, but armed with data we can take control of our lives, hold our rulers to account and see the world as it really is.

Tune in to this engaging journey on your local TV channel.


8 May 2013



The Middle Wharf Resurfacing Project is now entering its final few weeks and on completion will provide a new, structurally sound, safe and well engineered improvement to the wharf infrastructure.

The levels for the new surface have been conditioned by the need to preserve the wharf wall, which was found to be undermined by sea water and to be in a poor structural condition. In the past, concrete had been poured against the wharf wall to provide it with extra stability, and so to remove this concrete would have been to risk a serious structural failure of the wall necessitating its reconstruction. As a result, the levels for new wharf surface were set out to create a fall of two degrees from the wharf buildings to the wall, without removing the concrete.

The concrete slab poured for the new surface is a Continuous Reinforced Concrete Slab (CRCP) which is specifically designed to carry the huge loads that will bear on it from the Container Stacker and on occasion from the cranes. The Container Stacker will regularly role over the slab, imposing a load upon it of over 100 tonnes. This weight is distributed across two axles creating the potential for huge point loads to be imposed on four different concrete panels at once. It was therefore necessary to ensure that the slabs could not act independently from one another. The type of joint between concrete panels that enables this independent action is called an Isolation Joint, and this kind of joint is being employed in the new concrete surface by the Bastion, adjacent to the Customs Terminal Building. It is appropriate to use this structural design for this part of the work, as the concrete is not required to carry huge imposed loads.

All of the longitudinal and transverse joints will be filled with an expansion material which will allow for shrinkage, expansion, contraction and curling of the concrete slabs, thus minimising cracking and spalling of edges. These joints will be sealed with a Dowcorning 888 joint sealant which will prevent water getting into the joint and causing the rebar to rust, and will also prevent water getting into the road structure which is the main contributor to settlement, rutting or cracking of the concrete slabs.

The surface texture of the middle wharf section has been made to retain a good level of grip to vehicles, particularly when the surface is wet. This surface will wear down considerably with time through regular use, and it is also in consideration of this wear that the surface has been so textured. A smooth surfaced walkway will provide safe foot access along the front of the wharf buildings, and this will feature any necessary ground drainage to prevent the ingress of sea and rain water into the buildings.

All of the exposed services, including the water and electricity pipes and cables, have been provided with ducts and access culverts enabling better maintenance and making the wharf a much safer place for people to work in and enjoy leisure hours. The high voltage electricity cable currently hanging across the front of the Yacht Club will be removed and placed in a new duct.

The bio-hazard of “black water” - otherwise known as raw-sewage - which has been passing into the bay from the Yacht Club WC, will now pass into a two thousand litre septic tank, thus making the bay a cleaner and safer place to dive and swim.

The wharf wall will be provided with a new handrail to match the existing handrails and to provide a guarded height of 1.1 metres from the finished road level. As a result, the middle wharf will be the only part of the whole wharf with a handrail set at the correct regulation height for public safety.

The works are scheduled to be completed within the next four weeks and will be completed ahead of schedule.


6 May 2013



 Tony Earnshaw, Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate (ENRD), is to leave St Helena, departing on Sunday 26 May 2013. Tony is returning to the UK for vital and personal family reasons. He has therefore resigned from SHG, with effect from the end of May.

Acting Governor Owen O’Sullivan said: ‘Tony has had a big impact in the short time he has been Director of ENRD and he will be sorely missed. ‘I totally understand his personal, family reasons for leaving St Helena, and we all wish him well in the future.’

Tony commented: ‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time living and working on St Helena both as Lands Executive and Director of ENRD. There’s never an ideal time to leave and I had to give it serious thought before taking this difficult decision.

However, now that the initial pieces of the re-organisation jigsaw have been put in place and we have a clear plan for completing it on time, I am confident that there will be a smooth transition into the new ENRD management arrangements. ‘At the end of the day, my family has to come first and that’s why I’m returning to the UK.’

SHG is putting in place interim management arrangements for ENRD. We are in the process of recruiting an interim Director who will be in place before Tony leaves, giving SHG a handover period to ensure that there is minimum disruption to Government business.

The advert for the substantive Director post will be placed early next week.


3 May 2013