by Latoya Burnham
Several of the flood prone areas in St. Michael and St. James are ready to take on the hurricane season, even though in some cases the work is not yet completed.
Minister of Drainage, Dr. Dennis Lowe, today during a tour of areas including Headley’s Land, St. Michael and Thorpes and Sunset Crest in St. James, disclosed that million-dollar works undertaken had better enabled the districts to weather flooding.
In Headley’s Land, Senior Engineering Technician with the Division, Terrol Inniss pointed out that almost every ten years there was some significant work done in that area to help accommodate the waters that rush from elsewhere flooding the district.
Between 1999 and 2000, he said they had replaced the main drainage canal built in 1988, to the tune of just over $3 million, with another drain constructed in Brathwaite’s Gap, two roads away in 2008. Both drains, he noted, were helping to alleviate the plights of residents who complain about flooding in heavy rainfall.
Today Drainage teams were on site in Brathwaite’s Gap, helping to clear the overgrown bush there that could potentially block the free movement of water during the season.
Inniss remarked to the minister, that the sooner they could get approval for drainage works in respective districts the less it would cost government because each year the cost of the works they earmarked rose with tougher times and increasing cost of materials etc.
In Thorpes, Drainage Director Keith Barrow said there had been a perennial problem of flooding there until they had done significant constructions of wells in the area, with landscaping of the designated spot still to be completed.
Inniss said they had replaced the existing plantation well which had collapsed with a completely new structure more than 40 feet deep, with Barrow noting that it had cost just under $80,000 within the last year. Inniss said a standard well in the district would have been priced at $20,000, but because of the nature of the work that had to be done, the structure they had to erect was not the standard type of well to handle the volumes the came from higher into St. James and St. Thomas areas.
At Sunset Crest, work that had started in 2008, Barrow said was still to be completed, but they were awaiting approval from the Town and Country Planning Department before proceeding. He noted nevertheless, that the work that had been done there to date, had helped ease the flooding businesses and hotels in the area had been suffering in past years.
In addition to what the Drainage unit had planned, he said a major business in the area had also submitted plans to deal with drainage as well and they were hoping the entity could work along with them to get the construction done.
“We had planned to do [the remaining work] in the 2012-2013 year. Sunset Crest, Cave Shepherd, they put in a development that is under consideration by Town and Country Planning and their development conflicts a little bit with what we had in mind.
“We have suggested a condition, a development for approval that they do some of what we wanted to do. So we are waiting on that … [The work] will continue this type of intervention you see here, but exactly what we will do, we have to wait until we have finalised the development next door to see what is remaining,” said Barrow.
Lowe stated that once the approvals and cooperation issues were sorted, the project would continue to do more of what had already been done in the area to redirect flood waters.
He noted that within the time frame that most of the works had been completed, they had been tested by rain conditions and had held up, and should therefore weather the upcoming hurricane season, barring anything out of the ordinary. firstname.lastname@example.org