Ironwood forest road scrapped

Traffic to flow through Windsor Park

The government has abandoned its plan to connect the Linford Pierson Highway to Walkers Road through the area near the George Town Ironwood Forest.

Minister of Communications, Works and Infrastructure Arden McLean said in Finance Committee the Linford Pierson Highway would be only continued to Outpost Street, near the back end of Windsor Park. Mr. McLean made the statement in answering a question from Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush, who was asking if an environmental impact study had been done on the proposed road through the Ironwood Forest.

‘I see no need for an environmental impact study,’ Mr. McLean responded. ‘Government has taken the decision that we aren’t going ahead with this road. We’ve decided not to proceed at this time.’

Mr. Bush asked why there was an executive asset item in the budget for the ‘extension of the Linford Pierson Highway up to Walker Road’.

‘Why is $500,000 budgeted here if government is now saying they are categorically not going through with the road through the [Ironwood] forest?’

Mr. McLean said the funds were also for widening of Bobby Thompson Way and for the continuation of the Linford Pierson Highway to Outback Street.

‘We’re going to go down to Outpost to try to alleviate some of the traffic,’ he said. ‘We’re not going any further than Outpost. That’s the end of it.’

Mr. Bush pushed Mr. McLean to bring in Director of Environment Gina Ebanks-Petrie to discuss the environmental impact of the road. Mr. McLean, however, resisted the request, pointing out that Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie did not fall under his ministry.

Although he said he supported building new roads, Mr. Bush said he still wanted to find out from Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie if there would be any environmental impact from extending the road as far as Outpost Street.

‘You’re building those roads so high, it could flood out homes,’ he said.

Mr. McLean said the Department of Environment should not have any problems with the road only going through to Outpost Street because they had no problems with it going along the north side of the Ironwood Forest area.

Even so, that road will not be built now.

‘It would cost an additional $5 million, so we have scrapped the plan,’ Mr. McLean said.

‘The forest is going to stay there as far as I’m concerned and this government is concerned, until someone else comes along and decides to go through there.’

Mr. Bush asked Mr. McLean what would become of the plan to connect the Linford Pierson Highway to Walkers Road.

‘The [National Roads Authority] has to go back to the drawing board,’ he said. ‘I forewarn the country it’s going to be much more expensive.’

Mr. Bush continued to push for Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie to be summoned to the Finance Committee to give scientific information on the matter.

In the end, Minister of Environment Charles Clifford said Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie would be called in to give evidence when his ministries came before Finance Committee and Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said the executive asset concerning the Linford Pierson Highway appropriation could be held for a vote until then.