Even though breaches in the South Coast’s Sewage Treatment Plant have had business owners holding both their pockets, and their noses, they are not entirely convinced a completely new plant will help matters.
Business owners such as James Chow of Guang Dong Bar and Chinese Restaurant, commended the Government for attempting to resolve the issue.
Chow’s restaurant stands opposite the Graeme Hall Swamp in Worthing, Christ Church and he has endured both the putrid smell and declining sales.
Still, Chow told Barbados TODAY, he thought it was more efficient to upgrade the existing plant to tertiary level given Government’s reduced finances rather than invest in a new one.
“As long as you maintain the plant properly, it should be good,” he said.
Just yards away from his business an outfall pipe is being constructed. It is expected to temporarily take the pressure off the swamp which regulates the flow of sewage into Worthing Beach but, the area’s businesses do not want temporary solutions.
Chow said Government needed to find a long-term solution as livelihoods, staked to the area’s viability as a tourist destination, were in jeopardy.
Ann-Marie Carter, the owner of Aqua Pharmacy, said some visitors were already seeking accommodation elsewhere because of the stench and the beach’s closure.
“There are less people around spending,” she said. “The smell really is licking you down when you start to approach The Gap. This month isn’t too bad. It is an improvement on the last couple months but we just want it fixed and fixed without digging up the road,” said Carter, outlining another concern of the area’s businesses.
“For me the biggest fear is for them to dig up the road and then I can’t function for months,” she said.
Tabari St Vill from PLAY said, “I hope it doesn’t come to the point where it was before because that can mess up business a lot knowing this is the time when everyone is setting up their deals. This is a make and break time.”
Earlier this year, sewage overflows severely impacted business around Lantern’s Mall, Hastings Christ Church. December is a critical month and businesses worry whether breaches at the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant will be rectified in time.
They also wonder if their woes will end this time as the last administration spent more than $3.7 million in unsuccessful mitigation efforts.
The PLAY sales assistant said a number of businesses at Lanterns closed and others were still recovering from the south coast debacle.
Last week Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, announced plans for the construction of a new tertiary plant within 18 months in the event an upgrade to South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant was not possible.
He said the Government was also trying to source funding for permanent solutions as new breaches were found at the plant.