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Work resumes at base of Sando Hill
Construction work resumed yesterday at the base of the San Fernando Hill after Stackhouse Ltd owner Truman Lochan Dass got the green light to continue building his three-storey commercial building at Circular Road. Yesterday, deputy San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello, who toured the construction site, said Dass received permission from the Ministry of Energy to continue construction of his building.
He said Dass also provided his survey and construction plan to the San Fernando City Corporation with the relevant approvals. “We met Mr Dass and he was asked to submit his survey plans. It was submitted to Town and Country planning so we could look at it and ensure that no rules were broken and he followed the guidelines and did not encroach on our heritage site (San Fernando Hill). All that seem to be in order,” Regrello as he spoke with reporters at the site.
In April, work was halted at the site after concerns were raised that the construction was encroaching on the protected landmark-San Fernando Hill. Ministry of Energy officials, accompanied by armed police officers, visited the site at Circular Road/Pointe-a-Pierre Road to assess the work being done and determine whether the owners were acting within the law. The issue was also raised in Parliament by San Fernando West MP Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan after constituents complained.
The corporation also raised the issue in City Council to determine where a stop order could have been issued, however, the City Engineer was out of the country and it could not have been done in his absence. Dass had agreed to halt construction until the matter was sorted out.
Yesterday the businessman resumed construction of his building. He complained that he had lost a month of work and now would be further delayed because of the onset of the rainy season. Dass said he was planning to have the supermarket open by August, however, now he was uncertain of the completion date. He assured that he was working within his boundary and within the law.
“We are working with the Mayor very closely, with their support and we are working with the guidelines. We have been complying with them all along and we notify all of the relevant authorities and we started back today (yesterday), he said. Yesterday trucks off-loaded aggregate, which had been stockpiled in Marabella, for the construction of the foundation of Dass’s mega-supermarket at the site, along Circular Road, San Fernando.
With yesterday’s heavy rains both Circular Road and the adjacent Pointe-a-Pierre Road were caked with mud, which motorists complained about. Dass assured he would clean the road. Water trucks were later seen washing the mud from the road. Regrello assured that the Corporation as well as the Ministry would be monitoring the construction of the building to ensure there is no encroaching on the heritage site.
“We know have a map of the plan and we know the area that they have surveyed and we know the area where they have to work. We will have monitoring checks to ensure they will not go beyond that. It just for him to continue his work under the stipulation as instructed by the Ministry of Energy (which has) responsibly for this project,” the deputy Mayor added.
Regrello said the Corporation had addressed the issue of Dass stockpiling material in the heart of Marabella and he said the businessman assured the aggregate would be moved this week. He said no penalties could be imposed on the businessman for breaching the agreement by stockpiling in Marabella when he was supposed to stockpile in Williamsville. Regrello said the Corporation’s main concern is the San Fernando Hill and the health of the citizens of the southern city.
“We are here to enure that the site is not threatened and there is no removal of aggregate from there,” he added. Regrello commended the media for highlighting the issue. He said Dass had agreed to work on weekends and at nights to help relieve the traffic congestion the construction will cause at Circular Road.