Canvas City waiting on solution to erosion problem

Almost two months after storm water swamped a section of Canvas City, Wismar, Linden, clogging a main culvert and causing severe erosion, affected residents are still awaiting de-silting of the area.

On October 21, 2011 overnight rains resulted in water crashing into the area, causing tons of sand to silt-up one of the main culverts. This caused massive erosion, which resulted in damage to the properties of two residents, whose fences had collapsed, and to the foundation of one resident’s home. Despite promises that remedial works would have been fast-tracked, to-date nothing has been done and residents are expressing frustration.

Nichola Higgins told Stabroek News that she has been back and forth seeking answers from the regional and national authorities but to no avail. “Every time the rain falls, this place is getting worse, children can’t play in the yard nor even outside the yard because it is so dangerous and all I getting is a lot of push around,” Higgins explained.

Eroded areas

She said that on numerous occasions, she visited the office of the Regional Engineer at Linden and was not given any information as to how soon or if at all the problem would be addressed.

“I went as far as to ask them to give me the number or address for the office in Georgetown so I could go and represent myself and that too was another push around,” said Higgins.
The culvert in front the Lot 478 Canvas City home of Higgins was clogged, and according to her it was not at as a result of the one night of rain but developed over time. This was brought to the attention of the relevant authorities. “They could have cleared that culvert a long time ago if they had only taken us seriously,” she said.

Eroded areas

The woman had told Stabroek News that they had first complained to the Linden Mayor and Town Council, which said that it was not the authority to deal with the matter. They then went to the Works Department of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC). “We went to the RDC engineer and told him about the issue and he come two days after and saw what was happening,” Higgins had said, noting that the engineer promised to get the Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) workers but never returned until after the damage was done.

The property of Jennifer King was also badly damaged. A section of her fence had collapsed as a result of the gushing water, which eroded the sandy land at the front of her fence. King has suffered the worst as the foundation of her house was compromised to the extent that several sections of the walls of her house cracked.

The cracked wall

Contacted yesterday, Regional Engineer Peters told Stabroek News that he was aware that some steps were in train by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to have the problem addressed but was unable to give a timeframe as to when the work would be completed. He said that he was aware that a contractor was identified to do some temporary works to the culvert until such time that sufficient funding could be sourced to address the problem in its entirety.

This was further confirmed by NDIA Engineer Raphael Gravesande, who told Stabroek News that due to the elections the project was delayed. He said that the works were estimated and sent to the tender board but to date they have not received the letter of approval.

He confirmed that a contractor has been identified but he cannot commence any work until the contract is properly awarded.

Gravesande said that he had dialogue with one of the affected residents yesterday and he explained the process and the reason for the delay. Asked if it was likely that the works would start before the end of 2011, Gravesande said he could not say.

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