As part of the Government of Saint Lucia’s impetus for strengthened critical infrastructure on island, the Marchand Community Centre has been launched as a pilot project for the design and implementation of appropriate interventions for mitigation and adaption to climate change and the associated effects of intensified wind speeds from hurricanes.
The building which previously housed the community health centre had multiple uses before being renovated and retrofitted under the Special Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change (SPACC) project.
The SPACC project was regionally executed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and nationally executed by the Sustainable Development and Environment Division of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology (MSDEST), in association with several partners. The Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment is the main beneficiary of the project, and by extension the constituency of Castries East where the building is located.
Deputy Prime Minister, and Parliamentary Representative of the area Phillip J. Pierre praised the collaborative effort of several national entities including the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment; the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology; the Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal; and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport .
Additionally, the supplementary funding agencies World Bank/Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP-GIZ) were recognised by the Government of Saint Lucia for their meaningful contribution to the project.
Representative of the MSDEST Joanna Rosemond noted that “part of the vision of the Government of Saint Lucia for the Marchand Community Centre entailed enhancing the usefulness of the building as an emergency shelter during natural disasters, noting, also, that water and electricity shortages are commonplace during and following a hurricane and other natural disasters. Through the realisation of this vision, the Marchand Community Centre, an emergency shelter, has been renovated and retrofitted under the Project to withstand hurricanes greater than Category 3.”
Minister for Social Transformation Harold Dalsan acclaimed the facility which will house a regional Social Transformation Office. He highlighted some of the features that demonstrate a proactive approach to climate change and the effects of natural disasters.
These include water storage (both potable water from the authorised water utility company and rainwater harvesting); water conservation, through the use of low-flush toilets and low water flow taps; enhanced overall structural integrity, including the installation of hurricane straps and impact resistant windows; and natural ventilation through the installation of dormers to reduce the use of air-conditioning.
One added feature is a photovoltaic (PV) system that will provide some auxiliary power in the event of a disruption in the main electricity supply during or after a hurricane. Dr. David Bristol was recognized as the provider of the system. The Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) was also applauded for their cooperation in interconnecting the PV system to their power grid for net-metering.
Pierre recognised the significance of the project not only for its application of climate change principles, but for the impact it will have on developing the social landscape of Castries East as an inner city community. The MP said “by the use of this facility- what we will do with it, we will ensure that we will show to the rest of Saint Lucia that this community ought not to be marginalised.”