–similar projects at Uitvlugt, Zeelugt also on course to completion
THE $233 million riprap sea defence at Anna Catherina, on the West Coast of Demerara, is 98 per cent completed, with the full conclusion of this project expected by the end of this month. Similar projects at Uitvlugt and Zeelugt are moving apace and are also expected to be completed within the established deadline.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, and engineers from that ministry, observed the progress of those projects during a visit to the sites, on Wednesday Severe flooding along the West Coast of Demerara necessitated the upgrading and, in some cases, the construction of sea defence to protect communities.
“We recently came off of a massive flood in the country, so this sea defence is critical to ensuring that we protect against the severity of floods that we experience. I visited this area here a few months ago, there was some heavy overtopping and all of the houses were flooded out. So, we put this in our budget,” Minister Indar said after inspecting the work at Anna Catherina.
The minister said he is pleased with the ongoing work on the new riprap, which, when fully completed, will be 19.5 metres high and will cater for excessively high tides.
“We are happy with the work we see completed here. The work is near complete and we wanted to come on the ground so that when we say the job is closed, there is a good assessment, because in parliament we had to justify these expenses,” Indar said.
The minister also thought it best to visit the location and get a on-the-ground look at the works ongoing, to personally ensure citizens are getting value for money.
“It’s an expensive venture and an elaborate riprap, and when taxpayers are spending their money, as representatives in government, we have to make sure that when we spend money, we see the reality of that spending on the ground,” Indar related.
Together, the three projects cost $619.45 million and cover a total of 800m of shoreline across the West Coast of Demerara.
The Anna Catherina works cover 300 metres, while the Uitvlugt project, which costs $226 million, covers 300 metres, and the Zeelugt project, which costs $159 million, covers 200 metres.
The Uitvlugt and Anna Catherina projects are being done by Puran Bros Disposal Inc., while the Zeelugt project is being built by Platinum Investment Inc. The Uitvlugt project is scheduled for completion in October, while the Zeelugt project is schedule for completion by the end of September.
At Zeelugt, over 4,000 residents, who were involved in subsistence farming, suffered significant losses to their produce and livestock during the floods.
Considering the impact of floods on those and other residents, the Ministry of Public Works has budgeted $5 billion for sea defence works across the country.
Minister Indar said that it is important for the government to ensure that breaches to the sea defence are quickly remedied, since the cost to fix breaches increase exponentially once the damage is left unattended. “The entire sea defence on the shoreline is vulnerable, and there are spots that keep opening up as the high tides come in. So, you have to make sure you remedy it quick. A breach starts small but it will continue to open and open. And the longer you take to respond to that breach, the more expensive that repair will be… so that is why you have rapid response when you have breach to any shoreline,” he related.