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$120m flood ease for city begins in December

Published: 
Friday, August 22, 2014

Port-of-Spain is due for an upgrade, starting in December, when Government will begin component one of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) $120 million loan to deal with extensive flooding in the city. It is part of the IDB’s Sustainable City Programme.

So said Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. He also announced plans for a clean-up and rehabilitation project for the cove, located by the lighthouse near City Gate.

“We expect the pre-qualification process for contractors and consultants to be done in September and then in accordance with IDB procurement rules, we will proceed to acquire the contractors and/or consultants to deal with this area of flooding in component one of the IDB loan,” Singh said. The announcement followed major flooding in recent weeks on Independence Square, South Quay, where the city’s major transportation hub is located, Richmond and Edward Streets and other parts of Port-of-Spain.

The recent flooding came after rainfall, in most cases, lasted less than an hour. Following flooding, Port-of-Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee said it was nothing new and was linked to the high tide which impeded runoff into the sea. Singh, however, laid blame for the flooding on poor cleaning practices by the city corporation. “There is a practice by the city corporation where the janitorial crew take the rubbish from the streets and push them down the inlets on the road and therefore the underground drains are generally clogged,” Singh said.

He said the ministry had met with the mayor and the city engineer and showed them what happened after installing grates at these inlets. He said people had removed the grates and were still pushing rubbish into the underground drains. Singh said the city corporation would partner with the Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) to manage the system properly.
He said residents of Port-of-Spain also contributed to clogged drains.

Singh said flooding alleviation also would be achieved through improvement works at the cove. The scope of works at the cove will include the removal of the accumulated sludge through desilting, stone protection, using blue limestone boulders, and landscaping of the area, using suitable plant species.