While measures to alleviate the flooding in Georgetown continue, there are plans to extend this to an urban renewal programme as well as address flood problems in other parts of the country.
In an update to the media, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson confirmed that the cleaning of the Cummings Street and Downer Canal is finished, and the Caneville Avenue Canal going east is expected to be completed by early this week.
Flanked by Work Services Group Head Geoffrey Vaughn, Technical Advisor Walter Willis, the CEO of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA)Lionel Wordsworth , Georgetown Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Community Coordinator Neilson McKenzie, the minister commended the efforts residents have been making in terms of the self-help campaign around the city that saw drains and alleys being cleaned. He noted that the clearing of several other areas is on the agenda in the coming weeks.
Where the outfalls are concerned, those at Kingston, the Lamaha Sluice, and Sussex Street will be the main focus for the coming months along with the revetment at Sussex Street, and the tenders will be opened from July 14, 2015. Once all the tenders have been opened there will be a week for assessment, then a contractor will be mobilized to execute and clean the outfalls within about two to three weeks thereafter.
In addressing the flooding that happened in Albouystown, Patterson confirmed that while there is a problem with the Sussex Street Sluice, the matter will be addressed. Wordsworth and a team from NDIA were due to visit the sluice on Saturday afternoon to assess the structural defect that is allowing an inflow from the Demerara River, and the CEO said that measures will be put in place if not to stop the inflow permanently, at least temporarily.
While the current task force is aimed at tackling the flooding in Georgetown, Patterson said that he is taking a holistic view and will be expanding the task force to address flooding in all regions of the country. He also pointed out that not only will the task force undertake drainage and flooding issues, but it will encompass other aspects such as an urban rehabilitation programme. “It will be tremendously expensive, but not unaffordable. We want to retain the uniqueness of Georgetown,” he said, highlighting the future plans for the restoration of the Stabroek, Bourda, and Kitty Markets.
Speaking at the briefing, Chase-Greene said she is appealing to the citizens who are getting involved in the clean-up campaign to inform the city council. “We need to do cleaning in a coordinated manner. If you don’t consult with us then we won’t be able to help,” she said, indicating that the city is willing to assist with trucks for the disposal of the waste and even lend some tools to aid in the clean-up. She told the media that the next clean-up activity will be coordinated in the West Ruimveldt area, and she also appealed to squatters to cause no obstructions when the machinery is brought in.
While Chase-Greene gave the reminder that under the Public Health Act every residence is expected to have a covered bin at the entrance to their gate, the council is appealing to businesses to sponsor bins that can be placed on every street. She said the council has several skip bins in many areas and will try to provide alleyway boxes in the future.
“We need to stop with the pick-it-up campaign and start with the don’t drop it campaign,” she said, explaining that with the pick-it-up campaign people had the general idea that they could litter and someone behind them would be there to pick it up, whereas they should not be dropping it in the first place. She also pointed to the issue of derelict cars and scrap that are left about, and said the city council has already started issuing notices.
Chase-Greene also adverted to the fact that efforts are being made to clear the city of vagrants.
Additionally, it was confirmed by Chief Works Officer Geoffrey Vaughn, that the construction which was ongoing at the Celina’s Atlantic Resort was unauthorized. He said that a verbal order for construction to cease was given by Kevin Samad, Chief Sea and River Defence Officer and a letter to that effect will be issued some time in the coming week.