Last update: 12-Dec-2013 1:27 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Experts need time to study report on hospital site
Dr Joan Latchman, director of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre (SRC), says it will take some time for her team to respond to the geo-technical report on the $1.5 billion Couva Children’s Hospital which was released by the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) on Tuesday night.
Ten days after it was promised, the report, by Earth Investigations Systems Ltd (EISL), was uploaded on Tuesday night to its Web site at www.udecott.com. Accompanying documents, including a position paper by Dr Derek Gay on the geo-technical site investigations and a paper on appropriate setback widths for active faults, were uploaded for public viewing.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal in a text message to the T&T Guardian after the documents were uploading said: “All reports are now on Udecott’s Web site ‘news and events’. That’s transparency.” The documents were released in response to concerns among seismologists and structural engineers over the hospital’s location at Preysal, close to the earthquake-prone Central Range Faultline (CRF.)
Latchman, in a T&T Guardian article last month, said the CRF had the potential to generate a 7.5 magnitude earthquake if it ruptured. In an e-mail yesterday Latchman said the specialists at the SRC “will need to consider the document and discuss our various assessments.” She added that the response would take some time. Latchman is the sister of William Latchman, chairman of the Deportee Task Force (DTF). He died last week of a heart attack.
Gay, in his commentary on the geo-technical investigations disagreed with Latchman’s argument that the CRF had the potential for a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. He said: “The calculations based on these geodetic measurements resulting in much higher than normal magnitudes appear to be premature at this time and we cannot be justified in incorporating these in current seismic hazard assessments.”
Gay concluded that in his exercise of due diligence in his capacity as a practitioner of geo-technical engineering and engineering seismology, and having examined the findings presented in the research literature to date, “their assertions were insufficiently reliable and rigorous to be adopted into public policy and codes of practice at the current time.”
However, he said: “Should the SRC, through their due diligence, be convinced of the reliability of this new groundbreaking hazard then this should, and must, be brought to the attention of all relevant stakeholders in a clear and unambiguous manner, via consultations, in order to chart a way forward toward adoption/implementation.” Geologist Dr Krishna Persad is expected to return to T&T this evening and will review the released documents.
Engineers Anonymous, a group of engineers who have expressed concerns about the project, in response to the release of the report, said: “Dr Gay has insisted all along that the hospital site is not close enough to the projected superficial fault or potential rupture lines to warrant any special investigation. Is this correct? Or do we have to worry about unusually large ground displacements?”
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