Flooding on Cumber Avenue and nearby roads has become a familiar and dreaded sight during rainy season for residents of the low-lying Bodden Town area.
Residents who live along the street say they have complained for 30 years to successive governments about the flooding in the area but are repeatedly told there was no quick fix solution to the problem.
Cumber Avenue sits in a basin and rainwater has nowhere to go once the surrounding ponds fill up, residents say. When this happens, homes and yards along the street are flooded. Development work that has raised the level of land nearby, including the Anton Bodden Drive bypass, the Harry McCoy Park, the Mission House parking lot and home developments, have also added to the problem, they said.
On Friday morning, government minister and Bodden Town East MLA Dwayne Seymour toured some of the hardest hit areas in Bodden Town with National Roads Authority chairman Donovan Ebanks and NRA engineers.
“We traversed the areas of Midland Acres, Belford, Kipling Street, Cumber Avenue and other areas further west of Bodden Town East,” Mr. Seymour said. “We are trying to see the drainage problems, and mainly the deterioration of roads to see what needs priority over other roads in the area.”
Mr. Seymour said they found some major concerns in terms of past applications of road material, which he said would be addressed. He said some roads in the area had not been assessed in a couple of years and had not been as high on the priority list as they should have been.
“That’s why it’s important for us to come out and get a physical look at the roads. It’s very good that we are doing it during the rainy season, so we can actually see what is really needed,” Mr. Seymour said.
Concerning the flooding issues in Cumber Avenue, Mr. Ebanks said work would be carried out to help mitigate the problem. “If it is successful, then we can do it on a bigger scale. There isn’t any easy fixes to this but we have to try something,” Mr. Ebanks said.
The pond on neighboring Daffodil Street, which plays a large role in flood control for the residents in the area, already seemed to be at maximum capacity Friday morning. Matters were made worse when water started seeping in from behind the Mission House.
Raul Andrews and other residents of Cumber Avenue watched Friday morning as a drilling company installed another deep well in the area. This well should catch water coming off the hill and into the valley, Mr. Andrews said.
According to Mr. Seymour, government has installed around seven drain wells in the area.
Drain wells are designed to drain excess rain and ground water from surfaces such as paved streets and car parks. When storm drains are inundated, neighborhoods and street flooding can occur.
Mr. Andrews also spoke with Mr. Seymour about installing guard rails around the ponds because of their proximity to the road.
Some residents spoke to officials about the possibility of relocating, while others suggested digging the ponds even deeper so they can hold more water. Mr. Seymour said large rocks in the pond could hamper deeper digging.
As residents wait to see just how much more water the ponds can accommodate, all eyes are on Subtropical Storm Alberto, which formed on Friday and is bringing heavy rains to Cayman, increasing the likelihood of severe flooding in the neighborhood.
Resident Twyla Vargas said many suggestions have been made by government officials who visited the area over the years when homes and streets were flooded, such as relocating residents, raising the height of homes, tearing up the streets, putting in more drain pipes and injection wells, pumping, digging out the ponds, or bringing in a drainage engineer.
“So far, that’s all they have been – suggestions,” she said.