Hanover councillors clash over new footbridge
Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator
Mayor of Lucea Wynter McIntosh and his compatriot, Councillor Lloyd Hill, of the Sandy Bay Division, have jointly rejected a new footbridge erected recently by the National Water Commission (NWC), parallel to the Lucea West River Bridge, during the monthly meeting of the Hanover Parish Council.
Hill said he was not happy with the dimensions of the bridge as he did not think it was wide enough to properly accommodate pedestrians. He also expressed displeasure that the company's main pipe was placed on a section of the walkway, resulting in reduced walking space.
"From a layman's perspective, Mr Chairman, what I see out there leaves me to wonder if we are overlooking this thing about what it is that we are getting there. I say this because I don't get the impression that a bridge was being constructed, and I think that somebody knew that they were going to use a structure in the shape of a Bailey bridge to hold their pipes. That is what is happening," Hill told McIntosh, who is also chairman of the council.
"There is no arrangement there for a walking bridge. The space between the pipes and the rails is not sufficient for walking purposes - maybe sufficient for workmen to repair the pipes. But in the midst of us trying to establish a walk-foot bridge, it might have been said that they would have used an iron bridge to hold their pipe. But that's not a footbridge. Mr Chairman, I think we need to get something in writing ... ." he added.
McIntosh, in response, said he too was dissatisfied and would be calling on the NWC to remedy the situation. "What I will do is invite the engineers again, and they must give us a full report on one, the Bailey bridge that we were promised, because that is easement for laying a pipe - and two, for the reconstruction of the roadway. So, we will call them after the meeting to set a date," the mayor said.
However, councillor of the Lucea Division, Neville Clare, said he had no objections about the width of the bridge as he considered the space satisfactory. He said his major concern was wheelchair access to and from the eastern end of the structure.
Sufficient and good enough
"In all fairness, the Bailey bridge, as is, will accommodate pedestrian walkway and the pipeline as it is ... . I can't believe you can sit here and say that they were just trying to accommodate the laying of the pipe ... we asked for a footbridge and we got a footbridge that pedestrians can traverse. So it is not fair to say it cannot accommodate," Clare said.
"What is happening now is that how it is at the eastern end, that is the concern, because I am certain that at the initial stage we were asking for wheelchair access. But when we look at it now, we realise it can accommodate wheelchairs and also pedal cyclists just to come off the main corridor ... . So what I see out there is sufficient and good enough," he added.
Despite Clare's protests, the mayor stood his ground. "I am not satisfied! I am not satisfied that enough walkway is there. I don't think two persons can walk past each other there. I am not satisfied. If it's a single lane going one way, I could understand," McIntosh countered.
"And I think the discussion on that bridge was that there would have been access for wheelchairs and pedal cyclists. Well, I'm not satisfied, Deputy, with what you are talking about and we are going to invite them to a meeting to tell us what is happening, because a number of persons complained that it is not sufficient," he said.