Flooding haunts Harriott Meadows residents

Flooding haunts Harriott Meadows residents

By Kasey Williams
Observer writer

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Residents of Harriott Meadows, who have for more than two decades found themselves marooned by flood waters whenever there is heavy and persistent rainfall, were not spared during heavy showers last week.,

The small complex, located off the New Green main road, comprises 10 houses and has been home to Rose Mitchell for more than 20 years. A frustrated Mitchell told the Jamaica Observer that she had complained to the municipal authorities, but her complaints have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

“This flooding has been happening for the many years that I have lived here, and nothing has been done to address the problem. When it rains no one can enter or leave the community...,” she said.

She added: “There is hardly any drainage to carry away the water. The little drain that is there cannot manage the volume of water that is coming down from off the New Green main road. We [residents] have spoken to the relevant agencies and nothing has been done,” she said. “Several months ago, I spoke to the Member of Parliament and he said he would look into it, and up to now no improvement.”

She said that residents sometimes have to jump over perimeter walls in order to get to their homes and when leaving the community.

“Sometimes people have to be climbing over walls to get into their yards and even to leave the community. We need someone to come down here and see the water for themselves when it rains,” said Mitchell.

“The water was much higher than this before now,” Mitchell said Saturday when the Jamaica Observer visited the premises. “When it is very bad [is when] the water reaches up to four feet on my gate post and even my garden is flooded out. Sometimes the water comes into the house when it rains heavily,” said Mitchell

Another resident, Mel Stephens, shared similar concerns.

“I have been living here for 18 years and the problem is that whenever we have heavy rain, the centre of the road is filled with water coming off both this road [Harriott Meadows] and the New Green main road. When the road is flooded we can't go anywhere. Only big vehicles like pick-ups and off-road vehicles can go through the water. Drivers of small cars cannot come in here when the road is flooded,” he said. Stephens suggested that a wider drain could solve the problem.

“Open the drain and make it much bigger so that the water can soak away, and make [the drain] wider and and deeper so the water can flow,” he suggested.

Manchester North Western Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips, in whose constituency Harriott Meadows is located, told the Observer that there are subdivisions in Manchester which have not been officially handed over to the municipal corporation.

“What you have in Manchester, especially in that New Green, Caledonia Road and Brumalia Road area, are a lot of subdivisions which were done back in the day. They were never officially handed over to the parish council,” said Phillips.

He added: “The maintenance of those roads and drains cannot be done, by law, by the municipal authority because they are considered private properties. Persons bought into these properties and either the developer died, or they didn't meet all the requirements for it [subdivision] to be handed over – and these persons [residents] are left hanging. Something needs to be done at some point by the municipal authority and local government in really just trying to regularise some of these developments that have been done in the past,” said Phillips.

When asked about the water coming off the New Green main road, Phillips stated that a team will visit the area to look at possible solutions.

“I spoke to the councillor, so he is going to get a team going around there [Harriott Meadows] and I will be communicating with the National Works Agency, especially with the water coming off the main road into the area,” said Phillips.

He also stated that money allocated for drain cleaning in the constituency was inadequate.

“As I said in Parliament, the one million dollars that we get to clean all the drains in North West Manchester once a year is woefully inadequate to even tackle one third of what is there,” Phillips said.

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