$75M for emergency flood reduction; NDIA to fix Sussex Street sluice seepage

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO,) National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Lionel Wordsworth addressing the press conference
Chief Executive Officer (CEO,) National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Lionel Wordsworth addressing the press conference

[www.inewsguyana.com] – A team from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) headed by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lionel Wordsworth will address the structural defect on the Sussex Street sluice that is causing inflow from the Demerara River, and which recently resulted in flooding to sections of Albouystown .

Addressing the media at a press conference at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Kingston on Saturday, June 27, Wordsworth explained that the area will be assessed following which the NDIA will be better informed and will immediately commence mobilising, with a view of putting in place, if not permanently at least temporary measures to stop the inflow of water.

Also at the press conference were Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, Head, Work Services Group (WSG) Geoffrey Vaughn, Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Walter Willis, Deputy Mayor Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green and Community Coordinator, Neilson McKenzie.

The recent state of the Albouystown community. [iNews' Photo]
The recent state of the Albouystown community. [iNews’ Photo]
McKenzie has been tasked by the Minister of Public Infrastructure to work with Albouystown residents on a permanent solution to flooding and blockage in the community. He explained that his intention is to meet with the Community Development Councils (CDCs) and other groups within the community with a view of arriving at an understanding of the problem and to together, work out, step by step, a “package of measures” aimed at alleviating flooding in the community.

Meanwhile, Minister Patterson provided an update on the emergency flood reduction works around the city, an intervention for which Cabinet recently released $75M, and which covered the desilting and land clearing of drainage structures as a temporary solution to reducing flooding in the city.

Minister Patterson explained that the cleaning of Caneview Avenue going east, and the Cummings Street and Downer Canals is expected to be completed next week.

The ministry had also facilitated a clean-up group, comprising members from Sophia, Nabaclis and Canal Number One, to address the cleaning of alleyways.

According to Minister Patterson this crew has successfully cleaned alleyways in Durban Street, David Street, Albouystown, around the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Cummings Street, Middle Street and Thomas Street, and between Church and Lamaha Streets.

He said however, that there are still some areas targeted under the exercise that are to be cleaned, but that the ministry has been facing some challenges in getting its machines in these areas. Providing further clarification, Deputy Mayor Chase-Green explained that those areas are where squatters are living, and these pose a great difficulty for the machinery to move along the embankment to clear.

To this end, the Deputy Mayor appealed to the squatters, that they provide no obstruction, whilst the machinery is working in these areas. She also called on those persons doing cleanup in the different communities to inform the council when they are conducting such an exercise. She explained that this will ensure that the cleaning is done in a more coordinated manner, as in many cases, the garbage collected by these groups is left to lie on the roadside for days.

She pointed out that if groups inform the council as to the date and time of their cleaning exercise, then the council would be better able to provide trucks at the sites to help with the collection and removal of the garbage.

Chase-Green also used the opportunity to appeal to the business and store owners on Regent and Robb Streets, to be present or have a representative, when there is cleaning within their vicinity. She explained that is to facilitate the opening of gates to their bridges that provide access to closed alleyways.

Meanwhile, as it relates to the tenders for the cleaning of the outfalls at Kingston, the Lamaha Sluice outfall and inlet and Sussex Street and Meadowbank and the revetment work at Sussex Street, tenders will be opened from July 14 at the ministry.

Once all of the tenders are opened, the ministry expects that contractors will mobilise speedily to execute the works, most of which will take about two to three weeks for completion. [Extracted and modified from GINA]

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