Sat | Sep 19, 2020

Roadway or waterway? - White Lane residents debate years of nagging floodwaters

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2020 | 12:16 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Beverley Jackson walks in the murky water to cross White Lane yesterday after it was inundated after a shower of rain.
Beverley Jackson walks in the murky water to cross White Lane yesterday after it was inundated after a shower of rain.
A boy crossing a section of the flooded White Lane yesterday in Waterhouse, St Andrew. The roadway looks like a part of the official drainage network whenever it rains in Waterhouse, St Andrew.
A boy crossing a section of the flooded White Lane yesterday in Waterhouse, St Andrew. The roadway looks like a part of the official drainage network whenever it rains in Waterhouse, St Andrew.
A boy rides through a flooded White Lane in Waterhouse, St Andrew, as water runs from Penwood Drive on to the lane after a shower of rain yesterday.
A boy rides through a flooded White Lane in Waterhouse, St Andrew, as water runs from Penwood Drive on to the lane after a shower of rain yesterday.
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It is a recurring debate among residents every time they are swamped by floodwaters after a heavy shower of rain: Is White Lane in Waterhouse, St Andrew, a street or a gully?

Yesterday, as the roadway, which links Penwood Road to Henley Road, was inundated after heavy showers, residents again pondered whether it was actually part of the drainage network.

Beverley Jackson, who has lived in the community for 30 years, told our news team that it was a recurring issue and that sometimes the water overflowed the raised sidewalks, flooding several yards.

“Mi live round here almost 30 years and a so it stay. Dem say is a gully pon di map,” she told The Gleaner.

“It wicked round ya, man,” another resident chimed in. “Stranger probably a wonder if it’s a road or a gully, but we used to it. It can get wicked than this. Dem say is a gully pon di map even though it is a road.”

Jackson told The Gleaner that sometimes when it rains, the water ends up in several yards.

“The other day when it rain, it flood out the lane. Any time rain fall, we have to wait ‘til the water runs off,” Johnson added. “If the house never high, the clothes and the things dem would flood out.”

White Lane is the section of Waterhouse where Jamaican sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is from.

Yesterday, during the course of rainfall, the road was impassible to pedestrians and our news team was told that sometimes motorists cannot drive along the road due to the volume of water.

Men, women, and children were seeing mounting the high makeshift sidewalk to go about their business.

Shopkeeper Yanique Foster, whose establishment is situated almost midway White Lane, said the situation affects her sales.

“It kind a slow down the process. We get less customers at that time because everyone wait til the water run off before they come out,” she said. looking at the deluge. “I’m not sure how long this will take to run off.”

GRATEFUL FOR SIDEWALKS

Foster said the residents are grateful that the high sidewalks act as banks and give them a bit of protection from the floods.

“If the rain fall harder, it come up as high to the banking (sidewalk). If the banking was not there, then it would cause more flooding. A years it stay like this ‘cause I have lived here all my life,” the 29-year-old told The Gleaner.

A 50-year-old resident, who declined to give his name said: “We use to run and chuck off when time we a pickney. This older than me.”

Sanecia Taylor, a student of Seaview Gardens Primary, was, however, quite aware of the danger the situation posed and expressed a wish for it to be rectified soon.

“Sometimes the water will come up to here (pointing to water levels) and go in people yard. One time a little boy was in this water and his parents had to help take him out,” said the young Taylor, clad in her water boots.

The Gleaner was unable to reach National Works Agency CEO E.G. Hunter or Communications Manager Stephen Shaw for comment.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com