Creating Access to Delices and Boetica
The Hon. Parliamentary Representative for the La Plaine Constituency, Petter Saint Jean says his part of the country suffered massive damage during Tropical Storm Erika.
This is evident in the deep gorge that still exists separating the communities of Delices and Boetica from the rest of the country.
For the past few weeks, getting into these communities has been extremely challenging save for this innovation that has enabled some access.
“The idea of the zipline was that of a fire officer…with a fellow officer and a few men from Boetica, they were able to set up the line and this is what became our lifeline to Boetica and Delices.
“One the helicopters had left, the challenge we had was how to make it across the precipice which is over 200ft deep and 80 metres wide,” he said.
With the zipline in place, he has been able to get food and other supplies across to the community and this has been his primary concern.
“The Prime Minister has said to me to ensure that whatever you do, you have adequate supplies for the people of Delices and Boetica.”
The La Plaine MP says it’s been a long journey for him trying to bring a sense of normalcy to the area but the support and hard work of the people has been encouraging.
“I really want to thank the people of Delices for the manner in which they were able to work together. We had three massive slides, one covering more than 300ft and these people got together-cooking on the sides everyday-with shovels, wheelbarrows and pick axes.”
He described some vehicle owners yanking tree stumps out of the way to make access.
Meantime, three ways of bringing access to the communities are currently under consideration. The first is to construct a temporary crossing.
“A 30 meter Bailey bridge will be put in place to connect the two segments of the road across the river. That will create temporary access for the people of Delices and Boetica to get into La Plaine and on to other parts of Dominica. I know that concerns have been raised but this is a temporary access road.
“The Prime Minister has said clearly, ‘I am not concerned about the cost, all I need at this time is that the people of Boetica and Delices can access the other communities of Dominica.”
The MP is also working with NSG Technical Services limited and local contractors who have volunteered to assist with the installation of a more reliable zipline.
He referred to the site where the bridge was washed away, “Our plan is to put in a Bailey bridge,” he said. “However, one of the challenges which we have now is the width. We have to get a special Bailey bridge designed. Contact has been made by our consultants from NSG so that a bridge will be produced for us. We have been advised that it will take one month…”
This project is expected to be completed by December when the contract is signed.