Dirt pile 'danger to passing cars'
Freeport News Reporter
As tons of dirt and rock from the Bahama Rock operation continue to pile up along the Warren J. Levarity Highway, community activist Troy Garvey and other residents are asking for the "potential hazard" to be removed.
Garvey said when Bahama Rock initially started dumping the dirt at the side of the road, he thought it would have been properly managed, however he claims he sees potential danger in how the dumping is being handled.
"They have brought it almost even to the verge of the tar road the highway where people have to actually travel back and forth on a daily basis and the only access into West Grand Bahama," he said.
Garvey said he is now calling on Minister of Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville to intervene for the safety of residents.
"This is a hazard and this is a disaster waiting to happen," he said. "If the crane that they use the dragline they cannot even see what they are dumping over the top of this hill. They just bring the head up with the bucket in it, turn it loose and let it come down," he said.
Garvey said there is the potential for an avalanche type situation to occur if some of the rocks tumble into the road.
"Two things can happen they either hit a vehicle or a vehicle swerves from it and runs into another car. If we have another rain storm the sludge alone, whatever may come out of this could come out on the road and create a disturbance," he said.
Garvey said he wants the relevant officials to have Bahama Rock remove the dirt pile because of the possible danger it could pose, noting that if they wait until something tragic happens it would be too late.
"We are creating something now where the cars don't have anywhere to merge on the side of the road. They left a little piece over there, but that isn't right," he said. "If this were to close off this road we would have no access to West Grand Bahama and West Grand Bahamians would have no access to Freeport."
Resident Etienne Farquharson Sr. added that he was also concerned about the potential danger.
"What I observe is that probably almost 800 feet have been compromised and there is no safety for the motoring public," he said. "For example, if a car becomes disabled they have nowhere to go and it's a life-threatening situation."
Farquharson said the problem needs to be addressed because it compromises the effectiveness of the highway.
"It's something that needs to be addressed as expeditiously and as safely as possible, time being of the essence," he said.
Farquharson said more residents should be concerned, but Grand Bahamians appear to be very complacent.
"I've been living on this island for over 50 something years and it seems to me like there's a veneer of fear that has enveloped this island," he said. "People are just afraid to speak. Your lives are being threatened, your health is being threatened and nobody wants to speak."
Farquharson said although he lives in Freeport, he frequently travels along the Warren J. Levarity Highway and by speaking up the life he saves may be his own.
Another resident also speaking up on the issue said he is particularly concerned as he has seen the cranes in operation and it is clear that the operator cannot see what is happening on the other side when he empties the bucket.
"He can't see what is happening when it's dropping down. It could be on the side of the road and he won't know," he said.
The resident said he still has unanswered questions about the company's blasting operations with regards to an orange dust that fills the air when blasting occurs.
The Freeport News reached out to Bahama Rock for comment, but was told the person who should address the issue was out of office and would not be in until approximately Wednesday.
© 2012 The Freeport News