EDITOR, The Tribune
The aftermath, rescue, recovery and ongoing restoration from hurricane Dorian was hailed with #Abacostrong and #GBStrong sentiments of optimism and faith to rebuild. Hurricane Dorian’s destruction is an ongoing overwhelming dark shadow blow to the people, the communities, the government, institutions, and businesses that stood in this dreadful storm’s path. Thus, the will to restore must be held to the benchmarks that exist in our established building code, which novices insist needs overhauling and extreme revisions.
I reminded myself of a drive I took along Pinder’s Point Grand Bahama (not too far from the coast, which would have likely had storm surge) maybe months after the passing of Hurricane Matthew and was amazed as to how some old timber/wooden (clapboard) structures were still standing. One must consider there must have been a principled contractor who followed the code and took measured steps in construction methods.
Rebuilding structures on these islands and coastal areas across the country may need variations to home entry floor levels to safeguard against potential storm surges that will impact low finish grade elevations. Thus, these low grades should be enhanced with additional fill for good grading practices, notwithstanding our current building code has the provisions and standards for category 5 hurricanes like Dorian.
With many coastal parts of our country, there needs to be a budgetary allowance allocated for NEMA and the new Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction for the enhancement of seawalls or the introduction of coastal groins and berms to prevent or reduce impacts at the international airports in Marsh Harbour, Abaco and Freeport, Grand Bahama Islands. The countless hurricanes impacting Freeport International Airport should have already been addressed with a multilevel airport terminal with fixtures and finishes which optimise energy performance along with renewable energy assets and an interior building envelope complete with thermal comfort and quality views. These are just some projects checklist associated with the scorecard of USGBC LEED’s New Construction and Major Renovation rating system.
Key urban planning principles should be undertaken with the city of Marsh Harbour and the excess Crown lands south of Spring City. The smart city concepts for Andros which were suggested by the former Member of Parliament Alfred Sears now needs to be the guided roadmap with stringent thorough review teams or steering committees.
We want a strong Bahamas for every island of The Commonwealth of Bahamas, this strong Bahamas must be for today and tomorrow. Let’s stop talking about the potential and beauty but act on the preservation and build the dream, the industry, the hubs and transformational advancement that we have delayed so long in taking flight.
October 17, 2019