JIS News

Chairman of the St. Catherine Parish Council, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, has said that all the drains in the parish could not accommodate the volume of water brought by Tropical Storm Gustav.
Several communities in St. Catherine suffered from flooding, with the passage of the tropical storm.
“If all the drains were well kept, they still could not have accommodated the volume of water which Tropical Storm Gustav poured on the parish,” the Chairman said.
Dr. Wheatley, who is also Mayor of Spanish Town, said that work would have to be done to address the drainage problem affecting the entire parish.
The Mayor told JIS News, that after witnessing the flooding, he recognised the inadequacy of the drains to handle the large volume of water dumped on the parish by the storm. “It would appear that the drains are not able to carry the volume of water running through them at the moment,” he said.
A week before the onslaught of the storm, the St. Catherine Parish Council had planned to carry out a drain cleaning exercise in the flood prone Old Harbour Bay area, as part of an $8 million project.
Superintendent of Roads and Works at the St. Catherine Parish Council, Winston Kelly, told JIS News that drains in Blackwood Gardens in the Old Harbour Bay area and other areas deemed in need urgent attention, would be targeted.
At a town meeting at the Old Harbour Bay Primary School on August 18, former Executive Director of the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM), Reverend Peter Espeut, pointed out to residents that because of the coastal location of the area, water is coming down from neighbouring elevated areas and the existing drains are proving incapable of handling the volume of water.
In the meantime, Mayor Wheatley stressed that serious consideration is needed in relation to planning. “The Rio Cobre River that overflowed its banks in the Thompson Town area and destroyed homes is indicative of the severity of flooding that can occur,” he said.