(GIS) – On the heels of the contract signing for the islandwide drainage initiative, community meetings, have commenced.
In the first meeting, held in the community of Bexon, scores of residents turned up to interact with the design consultant and technocrats from the Project Coordinating Unit.
Speaking ahead of the meetings, Lester Arnold, the design consultant for the flood mitigation project in Castries South and Castries East, explained the rationale behind the community consultations.
“At this meeting, what we aim to do is to introduce them to the project and the aims and objectives of this project. Essentially, what we will do is to highlight to them what we are going to be doing in the next couple of weeks, in terms of identifying what the drainage issues are in the communities.
“We highlighted to them that there are macro issues in terms of macro flooding that will give rise to bigger projects and micro flooding that gives rise to the smaller issues. This project, however, is going to be addressing the smaller issue or the micro issues.”
The highly animated meetings allowed for intelligent exchange between residents and technocrats. At the end of the tête-à-tête, Design Consultant Lester Arnold commented on what he described as constructive engagements, which in turn has paved a positive way forward.
“Participants were given a basic questionnaire which allowed them to log flooding and drainage problems faced. The consultant indicated that issues documented shall be investigated and ranked. The information will be placed into a matrix and a score will be applied to each project to be prioritized and placed into a bigger islandwide project list which will then be fed into the overall budget,” he said.
To date the design consultants have also had fruitful discussions with residents of Anse-La-Raye, Soufriere, Canaries, Dennery and Desruiseaux. The duration of the Design Consultancy is four (4) months.