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Chamber Chief: ‘Ship Has Sailed’ On Abaco Redesign

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Ken Hutton

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

An Abaco Chamber head is concerned over the failure to redesign Marsh Harbour to protect it from massive flooding, as happened in 2019 with Hurricane Dorian, lamenting “the ship has sailed”.

Ken Hutton, president of the Abaco Chamber of Commerce told Tribune Business that while the reconstruction efforts are on-going in Abaco he is disappointed officials and residents are rebuilding the centre of Marsh Harbour with no regard to a future disaster.

Mr Hutton said: “Everything is rebuilding where it was. It’s a thing and I think based upon the impact of COVID-19 and the world economic situation and inflation and all of that, it’s always great to have the ideal happen but the ideal rarely coincides

with the reality.”

Last year, then state Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Reconstruction, Iram Lewis, said a discussion must be had with the landowners in Marsh Harbour on moving Abaco’s capital more inland.

During Hurricane Dorian, Marsh Harbour was virtually wiped out being four metres, or just over 13 feet above sea level. The storm surge which hit the island destroyed countless homes and businesses.

Mr Lewis said discussions would be had with landowners on “redesigning” Marsh Harbour completely, inclusive of the island’s main dock and removing the terminal facilities away from the seafront to a more secure location.

Construction advocates also called for mandating that buildings be built to a certain code and elevated above ground beyond the current building code.

Mr Hutton said that while reconstruction efforts in Marsh Harbour are steadily underway, these matters will require a “major, overall civil plan for reconstructing the entire Abaco central business district” and there isn’t any appetite with the residents for this at the moment.

“Is redesigning Abaco going to happen in the near term? Highly unlikely. I think the best chance we had for redesigning the city centre is now, but I think that ship has sailed. I think COVID-19 had everything to do with it,” said Mr Hutton.

In the event of another Category 5 hurricane hitting Central Abaco again, it is back to square one with properties. staying extremely vulnerable to flooding,

Mr Hutton added: “What’s the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Comments

killemwitdakno 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I had the same thought just two days ago. Pure unforgivable nonsense.

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