Angry residents of Kumaka in the Mabaruma Sub-Region have expressed concern about the state of ongoing revetment works there as the Aruka River continues to threaten the area.
Since last November works have been ongoing to save the business hub from the river, however during a visit by Stabroek News to the area last week, members of the business community there told this newspaper that they were frustrated at the works being undertaken. The revetment work is the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works.
“These people working there do not even have a plan because they keep packing mud within that so-called revetment and it making absolutely no sense”, a resident who is familiar with the project told this newspaper on Thursday.
Stabroek News was told that a team of officials from the Local Government Minis-try visited the site on Friday evening and interacted with residents who expressed their concerns to them.
This newspaper was told that a private contractor from the community of Wauna was completing the project which was stalled earlier this year. According to a contractor, when the works began sometime last November, more than a dozen piles were sunk into the waterfront area. He said that when the piles were planted, “someone advised them to tie these piles and then backfill the area but they didn’t listen”.
He said that after the area was backfilled, several weeks later, the entire revetment, “start to lean into the Aruka River and that is when we know these people just wasting taxpayers money”. He said that the area remained untouched for a while following which works recommenced.
“When the contractor start back working after the break that is when they tie the piles but it too late and if you notice …it got more cracks in addition to those from last year”, the man stated.
When this newspaper visited Kumaka on Thursday, several loads of earth were being packed into the area even as residents complained about the scope of the project. As the excavator spread the earth on the area, loud cracks could be heard as the piles leaned further into the river.
A Kumaka businessman, who watched as the works were being undertaken, told Stabroek News that a comprehensive study on the fate of the riverside needed to be undertaken. He said that from all appearances, the earth below the surface of the community was weak and he attributed this to the strong force of the Aruka River.
“If you notice… Morawhanna is a good example ….the whole community left deserted because the water levels keep rising and even though they tried with revetment works Morawhanna was left at the mercy of the river”, the man stated. He said that Kumaka faces a similar problem, and according to him, as the waters rise during spring tide, the earth becomes loose in time.
Another resident of the area told Stabroek News that the government needed to pay adequate attention to the problem and address the issue rather than “looking at it”. He said that the water has been threatening the riverside for a number of years and according to him, while residents complained, no one in the regional administration paid them any attention.
The eroded section of the area encompasses more than 200m of the width of the waterfront, including the old Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) wharf as well as the Kumaka Market-ing Corporation wharf, where the ferry, MV Kimbia, usually moors whenever the vessel travels to the area.
The riverside has been eroding for a number of years but sometime in 2007 when the country experienced an earth tremor, the waterfront began to erode rapidly. Residents were later advised to relocate to the back of the community but the move never materialised since a plan for their relocation was never implemented.