PM pledges no more flooding in Greenvale

Six months af­ter res­i­dents of Green­vale, La Hor­quet­ta, suf­fered wide­spread flood­ing in their com­mu­ni­ty, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley yes­ter­day gave the as­sur­ance that such dis­as­ter will nev­er hap­pen again.

Row­ley’s com­ments came af­ter he toured the hous­ing de­vel­op­ment, which was ad­verse­ly af­fect­ed by flood­ing fol­low­ing heavy and per­sis­tent show­ers on Oc­to­ber 19, 2018.

The PM al­so viewed works on the sec­ond phase of the $400 mil­lion Cu­mu­to to Man­zanil­la High­way which was award­ed to Kall­co in 2017.

Ac­com­pa­nied by Min­is­ter of Works and Trans­port Ro­han Sinanan, Hous­ing Min­is­ter Ed­mund Dil­lon and a tech­ni­cal team, Row­ley vis­it­ed Green­vale to ex­am­ine dredg­ing, widen­ing and build­ing of an em­bank­ment along the com­mu­ni­ty’s near­by riv­er, which over­flowed its banks and flood­ed out 438 res­i­dents’ homes. Row­ley al­so saw the build­ing of berms and con­crete cylin­ders which will be re­placed by out­falls to fa­cil­i­tate a larg­er vol­ume of wa­ter.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia at the end of the tour, Row­ley said Green­vale res­i­dents man­aged to “sur­vive” the or­deal, which had not been easy. How­ev­er, he said the Min­istry of Works and the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion have been un­der­tak­ing rig­or­ous en­gi­neer­ing works to en­sure that flood­ing does not re­oc­cur. These works, he said, will en­sure that “what hap­pened last year will not eas­i­ly hap­pen again.”

Row­ley said he ex­pects all the works to be com­plet­ed at the end of the dry sea­son. “So we are work­ing over­time. We ex­pect com­fort for the peo­ple who live in here who were trau­ma­tised by the flood­ing last year. We ex­pect pro­tec­tion of prop­er­ty and life in here,” he said.

When the rainy sea­son kicks in, the PM said res­i­dents will see a more ef­fi­cient wa­ter move­ment with the in­stal­la­tion of two new pumps placed on the banks of the Ca­roni Riv­er to push the wa­ter out.

Row­ley al­so ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with works on the high­way, which will be done in three pack­ages. Pack­age two, which was award­ed to Kall­co, in­volves the con­struc­tion of five kilo­me­tres of road­way, with works ex­pect­ed to be com­plet­ed in Au­gust with­in the $400 mil­lion bud­get.

Pack­ages one and three are yet to be ten­dered, Sinanan said. The 34-km long high­way starts at the Cu­mu­to In­ter­change and ends at Man­zanil­la Beach In­ter­change and by the first quar­ter of 2020, Sinanan said the en­tire project will be fin­ished.

Sinanan and Row­ley re­called that short­ly af­ter the project start­ed, en­vi­ron­men­tal group Fish­er­men and Friends of the Sea raised con­cerns about the high­way be­ing built on a buffer zone of the pro­tect­ed Aripo Sa­van­nas and took the mat­ter to court. Af­ter a year-long court bat­tle, they said the min­istry was giv­en clear­ance by the Privy Coun­cil to con­tin­ue the project.

Row­ley said mo­torists us­ing the high­way will be able to have easy ac­cess to the east coast.

“It would open up a lot of land for agri­cul­ture, forestry and oth­er ac­tiv­i­ty,” Row­ley said.

Sinanan al­so gave the as­sur­ance that the high­way was be­ing built out­side of the buffer zone. He promised that trees would be re­plant­ed to pre­vent land ero­sion and help with the en­vi­ron­ment. Al­so, tun­nels at spe­cif­ic lo­ca­tions will be con­struct­ed un­der the high­way to al­low an­i­mals liv­ing in the ar­eas to get from one area to an­oth­er. (SH)

Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali

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