THE PROJECT WILL GENERATE EMPLOYMENT FOR RESIDENTS IN THE TARGETED COMMUNITIES.
Much-needed relief is on the way to residents of Castries South East as local contractors bid to implement drainage and slope stabilization works. The works are part of the DVRP’s effort to prepare Saint Lucia for more frequent, heavy rainfall events and stronger hurricanes as anticipated with climate change.
The EC$4.3 million-dollar project is expected to last for 12 months, and will generate employment for scores of residents in the targeted communities of Country Village, Odsan, Barre du Chaussée, Belair, Bexon, Marc, Tete Marc, Forestierre, Dierre Bas, Sarrot, Labayee, Crown Lands, and Morne Rouge. The deadline for tendering was June 14, 2019 with signed contracts expected over the period July – August 2019 and commencement of works thereafter. The remaining 31 packages for Marchand, Dennery South and Micoud South will be tendered this summer.
The designs were recently completed under the DVRP by consulting engineer, Mr. Lester Arnold. He said the disaster risk reduction initiative, particularly for residents of Marc, Bexon and environs, is timely, given the traumatic experiences which they have faced over many years, following excessive rainfall.
Speaking to the comprehensive and consultative process undertaken to develop the design, Mr. Arnold said: “This is a project which started about 12 months ago, when we first met with residents of the communities of Bexon and its environs, who were affected by continuous flooding. We had conversations with all residents who had complaints, then assessed and prioritized the grievances. With their input, we came up with various appropriate interventions. We are at the phase now where all the designs have been completed for those interventions and we are now looking to commence construction works.”
To facilitate the bidding process, on May 14 and May 16, 2019, interested contractors, comprising of males and females, were taken to every location where projects will be implemented—drainage and slope stabilization works have been identified for 39 sites. During the excursions, contractors were provided with detailed information on the specific interventions.
“Concrete-lined drains will be used for areas that are virtually without any form of proper drainage,” Arnold explained. “Other interventions include reinforced concrete retaining walls, gabion-basket retaining walls, masonry retaining walls and ripraps.”
The DVRP intervention will not end with the construction of the works. Key to the long-term sustainability of the project, Arnold explained, will be implementation of a maintenance schedule in partnership with the community.
“What we have noticed in the past, is that once you have a project that is community-based and persons buy into the project, you have a better maintenance schedule to ensure that the drains do not get over-silted. In that regard, we shall be making available to the communities small hand tools, namely, forks, pick axes, shovels, barrows, and similar implements.” Given the proven correlation between poor garbage disposal and clogging of drains, residents are also expected to benefit from information on proper garbage disposal practices to ensure continued benefit from the drainage works.