JUNIOR Transport and Works Minister Richard Azan says the eroded section of the Sandy Park Gully will be repaired urgently.
Azan, during a tour yesterday of the informal community of Sandy Park — where about seven families live on a gully bank which runs off Liguanea Avenue, said the threat posed by the erosion was dire and the Government would be moving with alacrity to remedy the situation. “We have to do something about it urgently to save lives and property around here. One of the things about it is that we have to fast-track all that is on the books to get work started,” Azan told reporters.
That section of the gully is slated to cost taxpayers some $140 million to repair.
Residents of Sandy Park, on Monday, protested in Liguanea to bring attention to the threat posed by the erosion of the gully.
Workmen from the National Works Agency (NWA), who will carry out the repair work, may have to dig much deeper than originally expected, as the latest eroded section of the gully wall lies beneath a swimming pool at the back of the St Michael’s Riviera apartment complex.
NWA engineers said yesterday that the complex seemed to have been built less than 15 feet from the gully’s edge.
Minister Azan said the construction of the complex was given the approval of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).
“…The KSAC approved it and I think the KSAC has a part to play because they approved a building like this on the gully bank and on observing the wall; the wall is quite heavy and that helped to contribute to what we have here now,” said Azan.
There were also several fourinch polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes leading from the complex and Azan said he would be calling on the owners of the complex to assist in the repair work.
“There are some pipes from the apartment building that lead to the gully and I think it is a part of the contribution to what we have here. We have to have some discussion with the owners of the property that they have to help in some way to control the waste water from the property,” Azan said.
Azan’s assurance that work would be starting soon was of little comfort to the residents of Sandy Park, who said they had been given a slew of promises from a number of state officials over the years.
“Dem come here all the time and promise to fix the gully but nothing don’t happen. If that section cave in we trapped inside here. We can run from fire, but we can’t run from water,” Yvonne Turpin, a resident of the informal community said.
Two years ago five members of one family perished when flood waters associated with Tropical Storm Nicole washed away their home which was perched precariously on the edge of the gully. The house was washed away after a retaining wall fell under the pressure of flood waters.
In addition to the Sandy Park Gully, contracts has also been procured for the repair of several others gullies in the Corporate Area including the Mother White Gully, the Cruiser Gully, a gully at Wiggan loop in Barbican, the McGregor Gully and Cassia Park.
The projects are set to cost in excess of $150 million.