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Fix it, please!

Mavis Bank residents appeal for better road, drainage system

BY DEANDRA MORRISON
Observer staff reporter
morrisond@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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RESIDENTS of Mavis Bank in St Andrew say they are fed up with the state of the community's main road and are calling on the Government and the National Works Agency (NWA) to repair the road and implement a proper drainage system.

“Whenever the rain falls, the water comes down heavy and flood the road and that's why it stay so bad now,” Judith McDonald, who is from the Mount Charles community in the area, told the Jamaica Observer during a recent visit.

She was referring to a section of the main road — which leads to the bordering parish of St Thomas — that had broken away.

“Is just the other day the bus men came and throw marl and stone in it so no one don't fall down into the hole,” she said, adding that the community has been having drainage problems for more than six years.

McDonald said that the flood waters would usually “run off” into her neighbour's yard; however, her neighbour built a wall to prevent the flow of water on to her premises.

“The lady's land was washing away. She called National Works Agency and ask them to at least build a proper drain and she would accommodate it, and nobody paid her no mind. So she had to protect her place,” McDonald noted.

Meanwhile, McDonald's mother, Angela Daley, who told the Observer she has lived in the Mount Charles community for more than 60 years, said residents of the St Andrew East Rural community are fearful that small children could be caught in the raging flood waters when there is heavy rainfall.

“The buses don't come up here (Mount Charles) when the rain fall; everyone has to walk out into the water to meet the bus, including the children going to school,” she said.

Another resident Christopher Davis chimed in: “I've lived here for years and the road has always been bad; right now I'm going to fix my front end because all of it gone.”

Councillor Alvin Francis (Jamaica Labour Party, Mavis Bank Division) said he is aware of the problem. however, he insisted that the main road is NWA's responsibility.

But when NWA Communications Manager Stephen Shaw was contacted yesterday, he said he wasn't aware of the issues residents were having with the road and could not definitively state whether the road is in fact the NWA's responsibility.

Francis pointed out that plans were in the pipeline for some roads to be repaired. he was unaware of when the section that includes Mount Charles would be fixed, however.

“I couldn't tell you if funding has been secured for the section, which you're talking about right now. I would have to speak with my MP (Member of Parliament) to find out,” he said.

Efforts to contact the St Andrew East Rural MP Juliet Holness for a comment proved futile.

Meanwhile, a stone's throw away from the breakaway that motorists attempted to fix, residents in the Green Valley Housing Scheme also had their complaints.

“The residents cleared the culvert but it still gets muddy when the rain falls. We have to be walking with plastic bags on our feet,” former Councillor for the area Eina Spaulding said.

She pointed out that the residents had contacted the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation about the matter and that a team had assessed the road last year, but is yet to return.

“Taxis don't come up here and the buses will carry the children once the road not too bad, otherwise we have to rely on bike men,” Spaulding said.

The motorcyclists charge between $100 to $300 per trip from the different communities to a central point in Mavis Bank, where other transportation is available.

“In the mornings it's chaos because there is so little transportation and so much people,” she said.

The residents say they started an online petition in March last year to get the attention of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and MP Juliet Holness, in an effort to get proper roads and drainage systems in the area. Up to yesterday, the petition had amassed 2,051 signatures.

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