By KYLE WALKINE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A FEASIBILITY study for Pinewood Gardens’ storm water management is currently before Cabinet awaiting approval before work begins on drainage repair to the flood prone area. The repair is estimated to cost between $8 to $13 million, not the $25 million initially proposed.
Pinewood MP Khaalis Rolle yesterday announced that he will attempt to solve the vexing flood issue that has been plaguing the southern constituency for decades.
The Pinewood MP has envisioned a revitalisation of the area, with plans to regrade streets and also create a canal system for the area.
Mr Rolle said the work may take a few years to complete once it has been started. In the meantime, the Ministry of Works has promised to start clearing all the drains in the area this month.
An analysis of the area, done by Coastal Systems out of Florida, shows that the 1,980 home constituency suffers extensive flooding because it sits on swamp land between two ridges, making it a resting place for water when it rains.
“It is low-lying and it is shallow, so ordinarily when it rains you will see flooding,” Mr Rolle said during a press conference at his constituency office.
“No matter how many drainage wells you put in Pinewood, the problem will still exist, particularly during times when there is high tide. The drains just become overwhelmed immediately because there is no place for the water to go.”
There are over 80 drainage wells in Pinewood that reach depths between 150ft to 200ft. However, those wells have become inefficient because of the area’s geographic characteristics.
Last May, one night of torrential rain and a spring tide resulted in massive flooding throughout several parts of southern and eastern New Providence, with the hardest hit areas, including Pinewood and Yamacraw. Over 1,500 homes in Pinewood were affected by that flood.
The work scheduled to be done in Pinewood will include the entire southern corridor of New Providence. That includes South Beach, parts of Kennedy Subdivision and Bamboo Town.
“This work will include regrading some of the roads, and creating a way for water to run off,” Mr Rolle said. “The run-off will be into the Seabreeze canal and other areas identified.
“The beauty of the plan that has been identified is that it helps us to create a whole new city in the southern district. The canal system will basically create waterfront cities that will also have an impact economically. We’re going to allow those residents to develop a lifestyle that you commonly see in the east and west, like in Sandyport,” he added.
“Now the underwater run-off will not create flooding in other areas like Seabreeze because it will be in a controlled system through swales and piping. It will be an organised way to move the water from Pinewood into areas that can accommodate it. The Seabreeze canal just happens to be one of those areas.”
According to Mr Rolle, one of the companies involved in the development of the constituency has agreed to cover a portion of the cost for the drainage work.
He did not give a timeline for the project.
However, Mr Rolle said he will see to it that it begins sometime in the near future.
The MP previously told The Tribune that when the government considers companies to carry out the work, Bahamians will be given first preference.
There is currently $300,000 in the government’s budget to clear drains throughout the country.