While 60 per cent of units at Carib Sands condominiums on the Brac are ready for occupancy, as of mid-April one of the buildings had yet to have electricity restored and a new roof put on.
Bonnie Edwards, an owner/resident of a condo in the building needing a new roof, is unhappy that her unit still did not have electricity as of mid-April. She is also upset that she has not been able to run her air conditioning through the generator power and that rats have been frequent visitors to the damaged building.
On 9 November last, Hurricane Paloma devastated Cayman Brac with 145 mph winds and storm surge. Carib Sands suffered major damage as a result.
In a Letter to the Editor to the Caymanian Compass, Mrs. Edwards noted that while she had lived at her unit from shortly after the storm until mid-March, there had been a rat problem and rats were being caught in traps all around her building. The Department of Environmental Health went in and put rat poison in the rafters.
She did admit that the beach-side resort, which is located on the south of the island, had a lot of damage from the hurricane and that in recent weeks repairs were finally being done on her unit.
But she feels not enough was done soon enough to her unit.
‘The damage happened five months ago, but we keep getting excuses,’ she said on the phone to the Caymanian Compass last week (14 April).
Moses Kirkconnell, who is a director of the management company for the condo complex, Carib Sands Management Ltd., said that from day one they have done everything they could to try and get the units up and running as quickly as possible, but certain things have been out of their control.
‘I’m not an electrician or a plumber and my manager is not an electrician or a plumber. All we can do is request to get things done as quickly as possible,’ he said.
‘We’re going to come on line the end of July if the sub-contractors do what they are supposed to do. We are 60 per cent online now.’
He said they would be back in business before other tourist properties. ‘Brac Caribbean is not coming back until November or December and Brac Reef is looking like August or September,’ he said.
Property Manager Jeff MacDowell, in an update on Paloma repairs, noted that the electrical mains were completely destroyed to all three Carib Sands buildings. To date, electricity to two of the buildings has been completely restored. building one, where Mrs. Edwards lives, has generator power to all 18 units.
All roofs were damaged, but building one’s roof was condemned by an engineer. Temporary repairs to dry-in building one’s roof have been done and a contract has been given to Phoenix Construction for the entire roof replacement.
Interior repairs have begun on all three buildings and a contract has been signed with a pool company to refinish the pool.
Mr. Kirkconnell said that in the building Ms Edwards lives in the roof was damaged to where 50 per cent of the rooms leaked.
Although there has been generator power there since Christmas, tenants have not been able to run their air conditioning units or stoves; only lights, fans and small appliances.
More recently, upgraded generator power has been installed and Mr. Kirkconnell said he was seeking to find out if the air conditioning and stoves could be run through it.
Mrs. Edwards was not pleased with her upgraded generator unit as she said the fumes from it prevented her opening her windows.
Mrs. Edwards had complained that over six weeks ago the Planning Department and electrical inspector had given permission for electricity in her unit but she still did not have it.
Restoring electricity has been left to an electrical contractor, said Mr. Kirkconnell.
‘The frustration in getting electricity back to that building has been the supply of materials,’ he said, explaining that the large underground electric cables to building one ultimately turned out to be no good, despite trying to save them, and so new ones had to be ordered from overseas. Mr. Kirkconnell said he was expecting the new wires and then electricity to be restored in two weeks.
But Mrs. Edwards felt that the lack of communication from the management company all along left her in the dark as to what was happening with her unit and she feels things were left to the last minute.
Mr. Kirkconnell said he believes it is very positive that 60 per cent of the units are back online and rented long term until the whole complex is repaired.
‘You can’t practise for a Category 5 hurricane,’ he said. ‘We are doing our best to accommodate everyone as quickly and as fairly as humanly possible.’
Mr. Kirkconnell added that it is hard to get electrical contractors and to get things done through sub-contractors.
Based on how the rest of the island is recovering, everyone is suffering from the same frustrations, he said.
‘I understand not only her [Mrs Edward’s] frustration, but those of the other people on the island in trying to get them back into their homes and trying to get their homes into the condition they were in pre- Paloma,’ he said.