Residents of Allen View, St Thomas, have been told that it’s not yet known if they would be forced to relocate.
There has been unease among residents about an upcoming geotechnical study commissioned by the nearby Caves of Barbados Ltd.
Stakeholders involved in the project met with members of the community Saturday evening to answer their questions.
When asked if there will be a dividing line on who will have to be moved, Project Manager Gregory Hazzard, of Mahy Ridley Hazzard Engineers, said: “We really don’t know what the outcome of the report is going to be until we do the work, so we really can’t say.”
Hazzard said his company has been engaged by the board of Caves of Barbados Ltd to do a study of the structure and stability of Harrison’s Cave.
He said the study will focus on the ‘Great Hall’ and a radius of about 100 metres out.
“The main purpose of the study is to make sure that there are no adverse impacts on the cave, either in the event of earth tremors or dissolution over time, being that limestone gradually dissolves over time or from pollution because of the developments that have occurred in agriculture and in households over and around the cave,” Hazzard said.
“So, that’s the purpose of the study, to check the health of the cave and then our outcome would be recommendations for how to preserve the cave for generations to come.”
Residents at the meeting were vocal about their concerns. Among them was Rommell Lemon, who was quite passionate in his assertions that residents are not being treated fairly. He sought clarity on why members of his community are restricted from building but there was a spate of construction done with the development of the tourist attraction. In response officials indicated that the caves did not run throughout the entire area.
His concerns also included the inability of residents to create an income stream from the activities at Harrison’s Cave.
Another concerned resident lamented having to pay land tax for property they are unable to construct on.
Parliamentary representative for the constituency Cynthia Forde promised that their issues would be addressed.
“I will recommend to Mr Hazzard and the others on his team that there must be a follow up meeting so that persons get to know where they are at. Reports have to be prepared, residents have got to be told exactly what transpired and what the outcome of the exercise or the expedition is,” Ford said.
According to Hazzard, over the course of several weeks in 2022, land surveyors conducted a topographical survey of the district. He stated, “That mapping was superimposed on a mapping that was done inside the ‘Great Hall’. So we now know very accurately, how the ‘Great Hall’ relates to the land above, and the field work that we are going to do over the next few weeks will give us information on the rock that is over and around the ‘Great Hall.’”
Their activities will involve scanning the ground to determine if there are any voids or fissures in the rock and any anomalies. This would identify the optimum location of the boreholes which will be made to obtain physical samples of the rock for testing.
The ground scans will take place from March 27 to 29.
“That comprises stretching long electrical lines, one line at a time through the neighborhood. There will be stakes driven into the ground every metre,” Hazzard said.
“Once that is done we introduce an electrical current into the line, it goes through the ground and it bounces back and depending on how quickly and how strong the signals come back that allows us to understand the properties of the rock that we are going through.”
It is estimated that the bore holes will be done during the month of April and running into early May.
“The ground scans are not disruptive. To do the bore holes though, the drilling rig comes on a very large truck about the size of a 40ft container and it’s heavy so we might cause some tire tracks but we will smooth out anything that we disturb and grout in with cement the boreholes as well,” Hazzard assured. (STT)