Tue | Jan 19, 2021

StJMC points finger at NHT for Cornwall Courts flooding crisis

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2021 | 12:20 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) has pointed angry residents upset at the latest flooding of sections of the Cornwall Courts housing scheme in St James last week to the National Housing Trust (NHT), which it says has not yet handed over the development to the local authority.

Last week, heavy rains pelting St James caused flooding in several sections of the parish, flooding homes and creating chaos for commuters as the drainage infrastructure failed to channel the water away.

The residents of Cornwall Courts – the island’s largest housing development behind Portmore in St Catherine – say that the storm drains in some sections of the housing scheme are inadequate and puts them at constant risk of flooding when it rains for a sustained period.

“It has become unbearable and at this point, we are still not sure what to do as the rainy weather has not yet subsided,” said resident Sharon Woodstock. “People’s properties have been flooded. The drain should be made wider and deeper to accommodate all that water.”

According to Woodstock, the residents on Jamaica Avenue and surrounding streets suffered the greatest impact of the floods and were forced to spend days mopping up their homes and shovelling debris from their yards.

“This problem that we are having is a recurring one; it happens almost every year,” said Woodstock, adding that the entrance to the scheme from the Green Pond end is often inundated when it rains.

She said that while residents are able to move their vehicles to higher ground to protect them from damage when the rain falls during daylight hours, at nights, especially when the residents are sleeping, they generally get flooded out.

“It was just a total mess,” said Woodstock of the weekend situation in Cornwall Courts.

She said that despite several complaints, the StJMC has insisted that nothing is wrong with the storm water drains in the community, adding that the official who visited to assess the situation had done so during the dry season.

When The Gleaner contacted the StJMC, Marlon Tingling, community programmes coordinator, said that the Cornwall Courts housing scheme is still under the control of the NHT.

“That housing scheme has not yet been turned over to the StJMC, so we are not the responsible agency to address this matter. I would suggest that the residents address their concerns to the NHT,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the NHT office in Montego Bay proved futile.

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