No help in sight for Strathmore Gardens
Strathmore Gardens residents in St Catherine have long been frustrated by the poor road conditions that affect their neighbourhood. Homeowners of Ardenne Avenue told The Gleaner last Friday that due to the community experiencing frequent rainfall, water has settled into the massive potholes that have formed like craters on the road surface over time.
Elaine Mowatt, a resident for 15 years, said that when she has to go to work at the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, on some occasions after a night of heavy rains, she is reliant on her co-workers who will drive the JUTC bus to pick her up.
In other instances, she has had to put on her tallest water boots to tackle the knee-high waters to reach out to the main and get to her destination.
This is due to taxi men being unwilling to venture into the community, whether it has rained or not, given the deplorable state of the roads.
“Taxi do not want to come down here, and if they do come, you have to pay more fare to come down here,” she said, explaining that persons who cannot stand the added cost are forced to walk from the main road to their homes through the murky water.
The neighbourhood has also been branded as a location to avoid, according to Mowatt, who added that when she tells people where she lives, they express concern about the toll it will take on the tyres of their vehicles.
“When I just came around here to live, it was just like this,” she recalled of the road condition. However, though work has been done years later, that facelift has quickly deteriorated.
When it rains, the conditions are devastating, said Mowatt. “You see when I have on my tall water boots, me haffi be careful,” she said as though her water boots are high up to her knees, water threatens to creep into them.
She said with media attention given to the community over the years, they have been hopeful that the road would have been properly tended to for some time now.
Allistere Benson, a resident who has lived in the community for over 30 years, has turned to his Facebook social media page to expose the devastation in front of his gate and along the strip of road. A video he made has attracted over 1,000 views, he said.
With government entities such as the Strathmore Children’s Home and a Golden Age Home located along the stretch, Benson anticipated that the heavily trafficked area for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Child Protection and Family Service Agency would have drawn much more attention to the community’s dire situation.
“They have to use this road and nothing has been done,” said Benson.
“When the rain fall a pond!” he exclaimed, describing how his parked car, located in front of his yard, gets flooded when water from the road seeps through his car doors and enters into the car. “The children them have to go school, people have to come and visit them and is [a lot] of mud and water them have to come in,” he said with high levels of concern for residents who are without a vehicle.
He is pleading with the relevant authorities to visit the area once more, as he believes the community is no longer on their radar.
Benson informed The Gleaner that he spoke with Patricia Harris, councillor for the Angels division in the St Catherine North Central district, a few weeks ago, and she indicated that no funds had been set aside to help with the road repairs.