Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Poor air quality forces staff to vacate Hanover Poor Relief building

Published:Thursday | February 4, 2021 | 12:18 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

THE OFFICE staff at the Hanover Poor Relief offices, located on Miller’s Drive, Lucea, has had to vacate the office building on Miller’s Drive, in Lucea, because of a poor air-quality issue, which is affecting their health.

The Gleaner has learned that one staff member recently became seriously ill and had to seek medical attention, and as a consequence, the other members of staff have taken precautionary action by moving out of the building as they await action from the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC).

“As long as I can remember, when I walk into, for example, the section where the computers are located and the accounting section, you can see the swelling on the walls, which is a sign that mould would have been present,” a staff member, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner.

It was pointed out to The Gleaner that the programmes managed by the department, which include a drop-in centre and the provision of daily meals to some of the less fortunate of the parish, are still taking place as they (the programmes) are done in a different section of the complex.

“It is a difficult situation for the personnel who work in the offices. However, they have adopted a self-preservation stance with respect to their work area by moving out of the space with a view to giving the HMC a free hand to carry out the necessary repairs,” the staff member said.

“I get the impression that the HMC is more reactive than proactive. It does not take a scientist to see that (1) the building is old; (2) you have pigeons living in the roof and then their waste will, over time, deteriorate the structure. I think that they need to stop and do some work to protect the interest of the workers,” the staff member added.

It was pointed out that workmen, believed to be from Kingston, were recently seen inspecting the mould infestation and other problems identified in the building. The matter has come up for discussion at several HMC committee meetings in the past.

Efforts to get a comment from the HMC as to the timetable to carry out the required repairs proved futile as the accountable officers could not be reached.