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Business owners in Lucea on edge over flooding fears

Business owners in Lucea on edge over flooding fears

Posted  149 Views updated 6 months ago

Investors with businesses located on Main Street in Lucea, Hanover, are now on edge. They claim that there is a potentially damaging situation looming regarding their investments, as any amount of rainfall in the area, any time soon, will prove very costly for them.

Those claims came against the background that the mouth of the Riley River, at the eastern entrance to the town, under the bridge, is completely blocked with bamboo that is preventing the smooth flow of the river into the Lucea harbour.

When checks were made by The Gleaner, it was noted that the passage for the river to flow was completely blocked with pieces of bamboo that had floated from upstream.

“I do not know if that amount of bamboo is refuse from people working with bamboo upstream, and what we are seeing there is what has been discarded and has subsequently floated downstream, or if it is bamboos that have grown near the water’s edge and have fallen in the river, but if the passage is not cleared for the river to flow into the sea, and we get any amount of rain in the near future, there will be some amount of flooding on Main Street, Lucea,” one business owner, who did not want his name published, told The Gleaner.

When checks were made with the Hanover Municipal Corporation, The Gleaner was told that the removal of the bamboo from the river was the responsibility of the National Works Agency (NWA).

Further checks were made with the disaster preparedness coordinator for Hanover, Kenisha Stennett-Dunbar, who said, “I have been on leave since January 31, and I am not aware of the present situation, but I know that that type of situation at the bridge across the Riley River is a continuous one.”

She added: “What I will have to do is pass by the Riley Bridge and have a look at the situation, and then have some discussions with the NWA personnel.”

STATEMENT

When contacted, NWA parish manager for Hanover, Gareth Bernard, referred The Gleaner to his organisation’s Community Relations Department for western Jamaica, out of which the NWA’s Community Relations Officer, Western Region, Janel Ricketts, issued a statement.

“The NWA is aware of the situation at the Riley River and will, in short order, be taking the necessary steps to have the situation remedied.”

The statement, however, gave no time frame for action to be taken. Neither did it bring any comfort to business owners in the area.

One businessman told The Gleaner that he has started preparations to put his stock at higher elevations in his business place, as, according to him, “any number can play”.

“My business is not insured, so any loss will be coming out of my pocket, and at this point in time I cannot stand any losses. It would certainly be crippling for me,” he stated.

Both Member of Parliament for Western Hanover, Tamika Davis, and minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for projects in western Jamaica, Homer Davis, on separate occasions, recently spoke against the double arch design of the bridge across the Riley River at the entrance to the town of Lucea, noting that it was not the most suitable of designs.

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