Dear Editor, I would be grateful if you would kindly publish this response to an article in The Freeport News, dated, Thursday, December, 8 2016 which criticized the GBPA clean-up effort.
Regarding the GBPA City Manager’s reference to 80 percent clean-up after Hurricane Matthew, the GBPA Manager was speaking to GBPA subdivisions only, at the time, not to other private subdivisions. GBPA’s Mr Mcintosh also underscored that: “In spite of the debris being removed, it was more than probable that residents would place additional debris on the verge making it seem as if Sanitation Services had not visited the area.”
In the article on December 8, a resident in the Bahama Reef subdivision complained to the writer about non-removal of debris in her area despite calling in. In fact GBPA, once aware of that debris opposite a multi-storey building on Bahama Reef Blvd, had spoken to the property Manager who committed to having it removed. Similarly, the remaining debris east of that condominium was put there by non-GBPA-maintained private subdivision owners who know it is their obligation to clear it, but sadly flout their responsibility. We have the greatest sympathy for those afflicted by this neglect. In consequence, GBPA has agreed to step up on their behalf and we’ve made arrangements for Sanitation Services to remove that debris.
The writer of the article also spoke to a Mr. Audrick Lightbourne, who said “There seem to be too many areas that still need clearing.” However, Mr. Lightbourne’s observation was qualified, adding he lived in a private subdivision, and did not know the status quo in any GBPA subdivisions. Further, it was because he had seen Sanitation trucks working in the area that he drew the reporter’s attention to Tamarind St. Quite properly, Mr Lightbourne’s chief concern was for the existing debris within the private subdivision where he resides. And in truth, we share his frustration.
On Thursday and Friday, December 1 and 2, 2016. City Maintenance and Management of the Grand Bahama Port Authority performed a subdivision debris reassessment to determine the type and volume of debris still piled on the verges of each subdivision.
Within the purview of GBPA-maintained subdivisions, what remains, the report indicated, is mostly construction debris or construction debris mixed with vegetative debris, neither of which is ordinarily removed by GBPA’s service provider, Sanitation Services.
As is standard practice in all jurisdictions, construction debris or mixed debris is the responsibility of the owner, builder, building contractor or it can be collected by special arrangement with Sanitation Services.
Regarding vegetative debris, Sanitation Services, along with fourteen (14) private trucks, have removed more than five thousand truckloads to the Pine Ridge Landfill site since the hurricane. And yet even this scoped debris exercise is not yet complete and successive waves of organic debris removals are ongoing.
Finally, it’s important that the residents are mindful of the public notice placed in the Freeport News during the month of November, which stated the following:
“Sanitation Services Company, Limited will not pick up any vegetative debris that is mixed with man-made debris. In addition, all residents must be reminded that all property owners are directly responsible to ensure that all man-made debris MUST be removed from the verges and taken to the Pine Ridge Landfill, whether through a private contractual agreement or prepaid arrangement to Sanitation Services’ office located on the Grand Bahama Highway.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our 24-hour Helpline at 352-2000, because this is our city, our home, our Island and we are committed to ensuring that it is properly maintained. We know it is unsightly to see these mounds of dead vegetation and trash at the side of the road, or indeed elsewhere, and we regret it as much if not more than anyone. We will endeavour to keep tackling the waste with all our available resources and energy. Thank you again for your patience and co-operation.
Published Monday, December 19, 2016