By Anesta Henry
Residents of a St Michael community are calling on the authorities to address their concerns about a parking issue which they say is not only an inconvenience but a health and safety hazard.
At the centre of concern for several people living in the Bonnets Housing Area, Brittons Hill is that commercial vehicles owned by Windsor’s Trading Transport Services are being parked in a section of one of the parking lots they claim is reserved for residents.
According to one resident, Woodbine Deane, he and his family were so impacted by the problem that he sent written correspondence to the National Housing Corporation (NHC) seeking intervention to resolve the protracted issue.
He told Barbados TODAY that the “inconsiderate” parking of the large freight trucks was impeding access to the rear entrance of his home and creating other concerns for him.
“I tried but failed to seek a resolution of the issue involving the trucks through dialogue with the neighbour. I, therefore, referred the matter to the police who paid a visit and advised that I seek the NHC’s intervention. Isn’t it the NHC’s policy, as I understand it, of one parking space assigned to each unit?
“This nuisance issue is causing considerable inconvenience for my family, including my wife who is gravely ill, a daughter and two granddaughters. Besides the two aforementioned adverse effects, it is also exposing our kitchen and the bedroom occupied by my ill wife to toxic fumes which the vehicles emit upon starting up. There are public health and security concerns,” Deane insisted.
He further lamented that stagnant water in the trays of the vehicles create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially after significant rainfall.
Deane also expressed concern that persons with “nefarious” intentions could easily hide between the trucks at night under cover of darkness.
“On a few occasions, persons hiding between the trucks frightened my grandchildren as they were coming inside the house. We want them moved because they do not belong there,” Deane argued.
Another resident, who did not give their name, said they were also worried that the large vehicles provided a perfect hiding place, particularly at night.
“Well, you know there is no light around here at night so that anybody could hide and that is dangerous to those walking past,” the neighbour said.
Another member of the community, who also requested anonymity, added: “We have people that now come out of jail and they frequent these areas as well, and those trucks being there is a safety hazard. We have young girls around here, and one of them [ex-convicts] actually frightened one the other night when she was on her way home. So, with the trucks parked there, you don’t know when they are hiding down there. And I have my daughters here who have to go back and forth.”
However, when contacted, owner of Windsor’s Trading Transport Services Dorothy Belmar said she had received permission from the NHC to use the car park.
She added that she was struggling to understand why parking the commercial vehicles in that specific location was a matter of concern to some residents.
She claimed they only began voicing concerns about the vehicles in March.
“This business started in 2019. Those trucks, especially those that are there, have been there for over two years now. How come they become such a threat and health hazard? Why wasn’t it a safety hazard two years ago? I have documents from the NHC stating that that is my car park. I have permission to park there,” Belmar insisted.
“I have been here for 31 years. My business started in 2019; they have an issue with my business and I don’t understand. They want my trucks from there. Obviously, I know that when the business gets a certain way, they can’t stay.”
Belmar, who indicated that she has attempted to find a location to relocate the vehicles, stated that she intended to seek legal advice on the issue.
Member of Parliament for the area, Dr William Duguid, told Barbados TODAY that he was aware of the matter and had asked the NHC to carry out investigations.
Barbados TODAY’s efforts to contact officials at the NHC for a comment on the matter proved futile.