Workers during Phase I of the RT sewerage project in March 2012.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Works to install a functioning sewerage system in the East End/Long Look community and to improve the system in Road Town have been temporarily stopped. This was confirmed by Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool and Eighth District Representative, Hon. Marlon Penn.
When contacted over the weekend following numerous reports that the project had been stopped, Hon. Penn confirmed the holdup, but at the time could not provide information as to when the works were expected to restart on the East End/Long Look project.
"Well we had to stop temporarily just to re-collaborate as far as the overall plan for the project...I cannot say when [we will restart] right now...I will have to have a discussion with the Ministry in terms of restarting the works, so I cannot say...Yes, it's on hold right now," Hon. Penn stated.
However, the District Representative was quick to point out that they have done extensive work so far on the project. He explained that they have almost completed the James Younge portion of the sewerage project. Hon. Penn pointed out that they are now conducting the planning for the main line which will come down from Chapel Hill to Paraquita Bay.
"We are finishing up James Younge, which is the last of the residential line. Well, I don't know if it's phase III, but it's the James Younge phase. Now once that is completed, we will be installing the main from Chapel Hill to Paraquita Bay and as well as installing the pump stations at Parham Town, James Younge and Greenland; and then the main treatment plant in Paraquita Bay...So it's our plan over the next three years - as you know we are doing a three-year budget cycle - to budget the rest of the project which will improve the main line."
He added, "So we have finished all the works except one, because the contractor was away so he was unable to finish his section of the project, but the ledger lines were installed except that one where the contractor was off island when we were doing the work."
Minister Vanterpool indicated that the Works Ministry wants greater oversight of both the Road Town and EE/LL projects. He explained that during the Road Town project, there were some structural issues that developed and posed some challenges, and it was decided that better planning needed to be done before proceeding with the project.
The Minister explained that a project unit headed by former Director of Public Works, Dr. Drexel Glasgow, is in the process of being established within the Ministry. According to Minister Vanterpool, Aaron Mather, Coordinator for the EE/LL Sewerage Project will also be part of the project unit within the Ministry and he will report directly to Dr. Glasgow.
Asked if the Ministry was unhappy with the execution of the project, Minister Vanterpool indicated that the Ministry wants to ensure that all major projects are properly coordinated through the project unit.
"We stopped the projects because we had some concerns, particularly in Road Town where there were some structural engineering concerns where the area was caving in because of the sand. We therefore went out and decided to do sheet piling while we are working; so we have been organizing a new contract for that, but at the same time we stopped East End/Long Look project so we don't have the same issues in Road Town develop in East End/Long Look," Minister Vanterpool stated.
He committed that both projects will be re-started in about two weeks.
Meanwhile, asked about an interim plan for residents, Hon. Penn said they are currently looking at one, especially for the Greenland area. However, he said he could not disclose what that plan is at this time.
"We are working on something in the interim for the Greenland area, which is one of the worst areas in the district...They have been plagued most; worst affected area in the East End/Long Look community so we are working on something temporarily for them. Well the engineers are looking at it; I was out there with the engineers so I don't want to say what they brought back to the table, but they have been on the site...," Hon. Penn stated.
In March, Hon. Penn had stated that Government is finalizing the temporary plans for the Greenland area and intends to bring them to the community for discussion. He said that there will be a public meeting to discuss the proposed solutions.
During a ceremony on March 8 to sign petty contracts for phase III of the Parham Town sewerage works, Hon. Penn disclosed that among the temporary solutions being proposed is the installation of pumps at specific areas to help sewerage flows. He said that this could be a collaborative effort between the Government and homeowners.
At a community meeting held on May 8 at the East End/Long Look Community Centre, Hon. Penn referred to the work as phase III and stated that it was expected to be completed the following day, May 9. At the same meeting, he explained that phase III involved the installation of pipes in Parham Town and James Younge areas. He stated that under other phases, a pumping station will be installed at both areas and at Greenland. He also said the treatment plant will then be built at Paraquita Bay, after which residents will be able to flush.
A resident at that May 8 meeting had asked Hon. Penn when Government intends to have the entire sewerage issue addressed and he said before the end of their four-year term in office.