Dou­glas Cas­tle res­i­dents re­lieved, hope flood­ing is of the past

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Carl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer editorial@glean­erjm.com

RES­I­DENTS OF Dou­glas Cas­tle in south­east St Ann, near the bor­der with Claren­don, are breath­ing eas­ier as the 2020 hur­ri­cane sea­son gets go­ing af­ter work was done to al­le­vi­ate a flood­ing prob­lem that dev­as­tated the com­mu­nity in 2017.

Mil­lions of dol­lars in live­stock, crops, and house­hold items were lost due to ex­ten­sive flood­ing.

In 2018, the Gov­ern­ment said it would al­lo­cate ap­prox­i­mately $35 mil­lion to un­der­take sig­nif­i­cant road-im­prove­ment work in the com­mu­nity, which in­cluded rais­ing a sec­tion of the road by around 15 me­tres and con­struc­tion of sev­eral box cul­verts.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Des­mond McKen­zie noted at the time that there were 25 to 30 sink­holes in the com­mu­nity that made flood­ing easy.

With the work now com­pleted, res­i­dents are hop­ing that it is suf­fi­cient to pre­vent flood­ing in the fu­ture.

SYS­TEM NEEDS TEST­ING

Stephen Porter, a farmer who lost sev­eral crops dur­ing the 2017 flood, is grate­ful for the work done but pointed out that since its com­ple­tion last year, the area has not ex­pe­ri­enced any sig­nif­i­cant rain­fall to test the new sys­tem.

He ex­plained that he was re­flect­ing the views of com­mu­nity mem­bers when ex­press­ing some reser­va­tions.

“Yes, I’m glad that some­thing has been done con­cern­ing the road, but we nuh have no heavy rains since then. That kind of rain would have to fall again,” Porter said.

But Paul McFarlane, St Ann Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion coun­cil­lor for the Calder­wood di­vi­sion, which en­com­passes Dou­glas Cas­tle, be­lieves that while the real test is yet to come, the work done will be ef­fec­tive to mit­i­gate the flood.

“Some ex­ten­sive work was done there. They did a ma­jor drain to mit­i­gate against the flood­ing of the sink hole,” McFarlane pointed out.

“I am hope­ful, but when it comes to mit­i­ga­tion against flood­ing, it is when it oc­curs, then you can as­sess what hap­pens in com­par­i­son to what was there be­fore.

“The truth is, based on what had hap­pened there be­fore, I per­son­ally think that the work that was done will mit­i­gate the flood­ing sub­stan­tially,” McFarlane said.

Mean­while, even with the pre­dic­tion of a more ac­tive hur­ri­cane sea­son this year, farm­ers in the com­mu­nity are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a pro­longed dry spell, cou­pled with a disease that is wip­ing out their let­tuce crop, Porter said.

And de­spite the ef­fects of the 2017 flood­ing on the com­mu­nity, the res­i­dents are bent on re­main­ing there, Porter made it known.

McFarlane backed his stance. “No­body has left there be­cause of the flood­ing. You see, it’s a farm­ing com­mu­nity, and the res­i­dents are com­mit­ted to their farm­ing.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

Sec­tions of the cul­vert at Dou­glas Cas­tle.

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