Second entrance to Diamond housing scheme to be built

A second entrance into Diamond Housing Scheme on the East Bank is to be built and government has already secured the land that will be used to construct the two-lane road, the Government Information Agency said in a press release.

The road will link First Street, Diamond to an area between the Demerara Distillers Ltd’s TOPCO juice factory and the GUYOIL gas station on the East Bank and serve as a second entrance into the housing scheme along with an amenity area.   It is expected that this will see the traffic congestion which occurs at peak hours being reduced considerably, the release said.

Meanwhile, government will invest US$22 million, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), toward the four-lane expansion of the East Bank Demerara road from Providence to the southern end of Diamond.

And project officials from the Ministry of Public Works and Communications’ Works Services Group and the IDB Consultant and Project Representative met again with residents of the East Bank corridor and stakeholders on Thursday evening at Diamond Secondary School to discuss concerns resulting from expansion works to the roadway from Providence to Diamond Housing Scheme junction.

According to the release, those present at the meeting had the opportunity of viewing presentations dealing with the introduction and overview of the consultation process, project components, final designs and mitigation measures, Diamond second entrance, and the adoption of the Social Engagement Plan(SEP).

The final draft for the SEP, construction and operation of the four-lane extension of East Bank Demerara Road (EBDR) was revised in May 2011 and are the results of assessments, consultations and the feedback process, integrating stakeholder concerns  into the project.  The SEP, according to Simone Mangal, IDB Consultant, “is crucial to the implementation of this project,” since it is a plan for engaging stakeholders, whether they are directly or indirectly affected by the project. Further, the overall objectives of the SEP will cover a number of aspects including technical assistance to the executing agency (Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MPWC) in identifying critical areas which require interfacing with stakeholders during project development.

Other aspects are implementation and evaluation; suitable methodologies for achieving the stakeholder engagement; stakeholders and the executing agency (MPWC), and parties that it may contract; support the IDB Project Manager and Safeguard Committee with tracking and verifying that stakeholder engagement and socio-environmental safeguards are being met and pilot an approach to participatory management of infrastructural projects that could be applied in future IDB-GoG loans.

Mangal also stated that “through the SEP the public has a means of verifying for itself that the project is meeting its stated objectives,” particularly where these objectives have direct socio-economic and environmental impact on the welfare of the intended beneficiaries, the release added.

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