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San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein has stopped a private developer from quarrying near the San Fernando Hill for the construction of a three-storey building, pending further investigation. The mayor said while he wanted to encourage new business and growth and development within the City, he would not stand idly by and allow anyone to engage in any activity that would cause degradation to the Hill. “The Hill is a landmark and an ornament of the wonderful city of San Fernando and as such we will do everything possible to preserve this historical landmark and its environment,” he added.
The mayor said he would seek the help of Town and Country Planning, the Environmental Management Authority, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and other relevant state agencies to determine if there was any breach of threat that would negatively impact on the environment and citizens. The work was stopped following complaints on Wednesday night from residents of Circular and Pointe-a-Pierre Roads about loud noise coming from the area and about material being removed. The material is being stockpiled on a vacant lot near the Marabella Police Station. Hosein said their investigation revealed that the landowner is in violation of the conditions stipulated on a notice dated October 22, 2008 which states that any material to be removed from the site should be stockpiled at Williamsville so as not to create any nuisance to adjoining properties or any user of any nearby roads. He said the stockpiling was taking place in a residential area.
Both Hosein and San Fernando West MP Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan visited the area on Wednesday night and spoke to representatives of the developer who is out of the country.
Yesterday, Seepersad-Bachan raised the issue at the weekly Cabinet meeting. Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said he was unaware of what was happening but immediately dispatched a team of officials to visit the owners of Stackhouse Warehouse, Pointe-a-Pierre Road, who are apparently conducting the activity. Around 3 pm, a black vehicle, bearing the Ministry of Energy logo, accompanied by the Inter Agency Task Force Police Unit drove into Stackhouse compound.
Hosein, in a release said city police who were dispatched to the area confirmed that the removal of gravel was taking place and being stockpiled within the vicinity of the Marabella Police Station. “The city police stopped the owner of the property from engaging in any further work pending an investigation,” Hosein said. The mayor said their preliminary investigation showed that permission was granted over four years ago by the Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment for the erection of a three-storey structure that included a basement approximately 15-feet deep. The mayor said within the last two years no work was conducted on the property but this month work on the project began.