By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
A $5m contract was signed yesterday between the Water and Sewerage Corporation and BHM Company Limited to bring potable water to hundreds of residentes in Long Island.
Settlements such as Salt Pond have "suffered for far too long without a reliable potable water supply," Long Island MP and WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson said at a press conference on the island.
"Today, many Long Islanders are served via water tanker or forced to rely on ground water supplies where the quality of the water is questionable and the reliability of the supply is adversely affected during hurricanes, due to power failures and storm surges that bring the seawater inland, directly contaminating the freshwater aquifer," he said.
These issues have existed for decades "due to a lack of funding".
However, Mr Gibson said in December 2017 he pledged substantial improvements would be made to his constituents' water supply.
Five months later, on the anniversary of the Free National Movement's electoral victory, a contract to bring this about was signed.
According to Mr Gibson, phase one of the Long Island component included the delivery of two new water tankers (outfitted trucks), which were delivered last year.
Phase two represents the contract. Worth an estimated $5.3m, it involves the installation of 100,000 feet of pipe in two areas of Long Island, which are divided in "lots".
Lot one represents north Long Island, from the northern end of Salt Pond and ending at Boat Harbour Drive, Gray's Settlement. Mr Gibson said this will provide service to about 200 service connections.
Lot two refers to south Long Island, from Turtle Cove in Steven's Settlement to the southern end of Clarence Town settlement. Mr Gibson added that this will bring service to approximately 100 service connections.
"This represents the second phase…of a project to provide a world class water supply for Long Island," he said.
The representatives from BHM were Ebbe Saidi, managing director, and Paul Huckle.
Mr Gibson implored the company to hire and involve as many people from Long Island as possible. He added that the managing director has committed to this already.
This is exemplified by the fact that BHM has promised to hold an open house on June 12 to recruit.
According to Mr Gibson, the company will "ascertain best accommodations, recruit skilled and unskilled labourers, machine operators, and other staff."
"This would represent a major economic injection into Long Island," he added.
When asked by The Tribune if the contract stipulates a minimum number of Bahamian workers to be involved in the project, Mr Gibson said no.
However, he said that the government will "insist" on a minimum of Bahamian workers and added, "I expect the vast majority, 90 plus per cent to be Bahamian."
The third phase of the project will extend the water supply system to other areas of Long Island. This will be implemented under a separate contract, and affect both northern settlements (Deal's, Bunches, and Millerton) and southern (Morris and Wemyss).
Through these works, the number of customers connected to the water system will increase from 80 to 255.
Mr Gibson also shared three other projects which will affect multiple islands.
The Caribbean Development Bank Water Supply Improvement Project will commence two projects in New Providence and five on various Family Islands including Long Island. It will be funded by a $28.33m loan from the bank and $13.3m in counterpart funding from the government.
The Central Long Island Non-Revenue Water Project will "reduce the amount of leakage on that system".
Thirdly, plans are in motion to supply piped potable water to the resort communities of Cape Santa Maria and Stella Maris on Long Island.
Mr Gibson added that these projects "will total in excess of $10m" and "bring relief…to a combined 740 plus homes and businesses."