Blog: A new view of Jersey's Finance Centre

It is a site that has been the centre of controversy for as long as I have been working as a journalist in Jersey. But, like it or loath it, the Jersey International Finance Centre is being built. In fact, my visit today showed that the first office block is well on its way to being finished on time, in February, and now the next block has been approved by planning it might not be long before we see work start on that.

My visit today though wasn't just to find out how the work was going. I had the rare opportunity to climb up the crane that has been dominating St Helier's skyline for months.

Climbing the crane

To get to the top, myself and my cameraman had to climb up 15 ladders, decked out in a hard hat, gloves and proper boots.

We both found the first few ladders the toughest as we got over any fear of heights. I am not going to lie, ladders and heights aren't my favourite things but I couldn't miss the opportunity to see town from such an unusual perspective and as the crane is 56 metres high the views across town, and the island, are second to none.

It also feels a lot more secure up there than I imagined. In fact, apart from the views I forgot I was so high and was happy walking around at the top. It does move in the wind, and as you move things with it though, so you would need strong sea-legs if you were up there for too long!

The view over St Aubin's Bay

On a practical note, the crane is essential for the working of the site, doing most of the heavy lifting and it was brought over from France because there is nothing in the island like it. We might even end up with two if the second building goes ahead soon.

From the top of it you can also see just how much work is going on below, and how the landscape is going to change if all the proposed buildings are built.

Me at the top

It wasn't what I was expecting this morning, but it was a great way to see the Finance Centre from a different perspective.