BT projects face delay

Although some projects to mitigate
flooding in Bodden
Town have gotten under
way, government officials said last week that measures to assist the
flood-prone Cumber Avenue
could be held up due to cost.

A consultant’s report that has been
presented to the Ministry of District Administration suggested several flood
reduction measures for the Cumber
Avenue area.

Those included acquiring three
vacant lots to build drainage ditches, connecting all detention ponds via
culverts, and potentially – as an alternate option – redeveloping roads in the
area to re-route flood waters.

The concern, at least with the
second option, is that it could lead to more flooding depending on how it was
implemented.

Works Minister Juliana
O’Connor-Connolly said the estimated cost of the flood mitigation measures was
$870,000.

“This is obviously a major
undertaking,” said opposition lawmaker Alden McLaughlin. “When is it likely any
of this work will be done?”

“Under the current budget, it is
not possible,” Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly said.

The minister said the National
Roads Authority undertook to “de-muck” a low-lying piece of Crown property on Daffodil Road,
which has helped to alleviate flooding.

However, she said a more comprehensive
flood reduction plan was being studied.

Whether those works recommended in
the consultant’s report would be affordable in the upcoming 2010/11 budget was
uncertain.

“That will depend on divestment of
assets, our revenue projections, the UK’s assessment of our revenue
base,” Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly said.

For the current 2009/10 year those
projections are not good.

Government revenues have dropped
off $72 million from where they were initially projected, and the Cayman Islands total operating deficit from July through
December 2009 was $73.1 million.

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly said budget
troubles had also forced the government to reconsider plans to move certain
agencies into the first floor of the Bodden Town Civic Centre.

The previous government had
proposed to move the Department of Vehicle Licensing office, as well as the
Parks and Cemeteries Unit into the first floor.

However, government officials said
those plans had been abandoned in the current year.

Right now, the first floor of the
building is being used as part-time storage for the Cadet Corps.

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly said the
Lands and Survey Department would review a potential longer-term use for the
first floor of the centre going forward.

LOCALBoddenTownprojectsLEAD

Children ride their bike through flood water on Cumber Avenue in November 2008.
Photo: File
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