The construction of a high-rise building in Duke Street, Kingston by city businessman Rizwan Khan has upset residents of Barrack and Duke streets who are now grappling with damage to their properties and other problems.
Residents close to the construction site say the works have been disturbing the tranquility of their neighbourhood.
The high-rise building would also change the traditional landscape of the street where many colonial-style homes with historical value are located.
Residents have also said they have been feeling tremors from the construction work which starts early in the morning and goes into the night.
When Stabroek News contacted Khan last night he said no one has made any complaints to him on the construction or over damage.
“They have to contact us and show us the damages just like how they contacted you (Stabroek News). Nobody contacted we have insurance and we would be able to fix whatever was damaged,” Khan declared.
Questioned on the purpose for the construction of the high-rise is building in the community, he responded “that is my personal business you don’t need to know that.”
A resident in a letter to Stabroek News in Thursday’s March 1, 2018 edition complained “The workers do not work the normal 7 am to 4 pm work schedule. For the period early in January this year, workmen would begin as early as 5.30 am to hammer away at work.”
The letter pointed out that “buildings cracked and shook due to the pile driving exercise for which there was no survey done to the surrounding properties to ascertain whether the buildings, most of which date back to the colonial era could withstand such an exercise.”
During a visit to the street by this newspaper, a resident, Joan Burnett showed cracks in her flooring and the concrete wall of the bottom flat. She explained that the cracks on the floor and in the wall occurred when the piles for the foundation were being sunk.
The resident in the March 1st letter pointed out that during the clearing of the ground, an excavator was used to rip apart an old concrete floor. She noted that the excavator operator used the bucket and “stamped the concrete floor to break it. This operation caused severe tremors to the buildings in close proximity to the worksite.”
“Since they started with the construction of this building November we have lost our peace. There is heaving drilling, hammering and it is worse when the truck comes to pour cement. They work from night and into mornings, you can’t sleep,” Burnett stressed when asked how the construction has affected her.
Burnett said that she suffers dearly from the construction as workers would throw debris and empty snack packets into her yard. She showed Stabroek News some concrete debris that was thrown into her yard and a piece of wood that was thrown over. She pointed out that every time the cement mixing trucks stops to cast a new floor, loads of drippings would fall onto her roof. She also noted that the environment has become dusty.
“I don’t know what can be done but I would be happy to get some relief,” the retired teacher said.
She also noted that Khan was proposing to purchase her property which has been there for decades and she refused to sell. She said he wanted convert the land into a parking lot.
“I can’t sell this house this is my ancestors’ home. My aunt always tell me to not sell this house. It is our family history,” she declared.
Shamie (only name given), the caretaker of a house located three buildings away from the construction site, yesterday said that when the construction began sections of the concrete walls on the bottom flat started to crack.
“When they deh driving piles it crack up the wall and it was new wall… my cousin buy the house and we did renovations to upstairs and downstairs. The walls cracked, the roof damaged, toilet bowls destroyed and I had to replace them,” he said noting that the gutters from the roof also fell off.
He noted that he had contacted Khan and informed him of the damage and he said Khan told him that he would cover the cost of the repairs. “I am still waiting for the repairs to be done, I saw him the other day and he said he hasn’t forgotten me… so I waiting,” the caretaker said.
Another resident, Brian Valz said that he is concerned over the breach of privacy with such a high building in the area.
“With that building we cannot have privacy in our yards. This building is going to change the entire landscape of what use to be a residential area. Such a big building means commercial activity is going to take place there,” said Valz.
He noted that the noise from the construction site has been polluting the area.
“We feel a lot of vibrations when the day come… nobody shows any concern… I have complained to City Hall but that was a waste of my time,” he lamented.
According to Valz, some days large trucks would block up the street and residents and other drivers would be forced to find alternative routes to go about their business.
Stabroek News during the visit observed that works are in progress for the casting of columns for the sixth floor.
This newspaper was unable to solicit a comment from chief City Engineer, Colvern Venture as he was not in office yesterday.