Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
The retaining wall of an apartment complex in Liguanea, St Andrew, which has rendered a section of the Sandy Gully unstable, has raised concern about how the construction received approval from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).
Yesterday, Richard Azan, state minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, who went on a tour in the area along with a technical team, said it was clear the wall was in breach of the building code.
Azan said the KSAC should play a part in the repair work at the site as, "from observing the wall it is quite heavy and that has helped to contribute to the problem that we are having here".
Communication manager at the National Works Agency Stephen Shaw, who was also on the tour, later made it clear that the apartment buildings behind the wall did not themselves seem to be in breach of the code which stipulates that construction should take place at least 15 feet away from gullies.
"Certainly the building itself looks like it adheres to that minimum, but the retaining wall seems to be in breach. But that is something that the Town and Country Planning Authority will have to look at," Shaw said.
RESIDENTS HAVE TO ASSIST
Azan disclosed that residents occupying the complex might have to assist in whatever way possible to minimise the damage being done to the gully.
"There are some pipes from the apartment buildings that lead to the gully and I think that is contributing to the problem that we are having here," Azan said. "We need to have some discussion with the owners of the property ... they have to help in some way to control the waste water from their property."
In the meantime, Azan said repairs to the Sandy Gully could cost the Government more than $300 million, up from initial estimates.
"We had an estimate before and since the rain, further damage (has been done) so it will cost us more. The first estimate (which looks at the entire gully), I think it was over $195 million but as you can observe that it is not $195 million anymore, it is running in about $300-and-odd million," Azan declared yesterday.
The state minister said that, based on what was observed, the ministry would treat the need for repairs as an emergency case to get work started in the shortest possible time.
"What I observed from our visit here today has to be a really serious emergency in order to save life and property around here. We have to fast track all that is on the books to get work started. The minister (Dr Omar Davies) has given the word to say that we have to do the work fast and what we will do is have further discussions in the coming days to have work started," Azan said.