Sewerage overflow in the Greenland area.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
Like previous Governments, the current National Democratic Party (NDP) administration has promised to address the sewerage issues once and for all.
Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister for Communications and Works recently stated that he wants to be able to say that he was part of the Ministry of Communications and Works team that finally fixed the sewage woes.
"The issue of sewage remains a vexing problem for all of us. Wherever we live in the districts of East End or Long Look, all of us come to our capital city of Road Town and on some days, we do not smell like Nature's Little Secrets. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team at Water and Sewerage, Public Works and some contractors, we have managed to make headway in finally resolving Road Town's sewage woes. However, we still have more work to do."
He added, "Over the next three years, my Ministry will once and for all fix the sewage issues of Road Town, East End, Long Look and begin to plan for sewage systems for villages with growing populations, such as the Valley in Virgin Gorda and Sea Cows Bay here on Tortola."
The sewerage works which were stopped late last year are expected to restart in coming weeks.
"We cannot continue to invest in marketing our islands as a premier destination for financial services and tourism if we cannot simply prevent our waste from simply running through the streets."
The Minister further stated, "We have to live up to that image that we sell the world and we must improve the quality of life we have for our people, right here on our islands. That is the task of proper sewage management that I am confident that we will overcome within the next three years."
When the works were stopped, Minister Vanterpool indicated that the Works Ministry wants greater oversight of both the Road Town and EE/LL projects. At the time, he explained that during the Road Town project, there were some structural issues that developed and posed some challenges, and it was decided that better planning needed to be done before proceeding with the project.
The Minister had explained that a project unit headed by former Director of Public Works, Dr. Drexel Glasgow, will be established within the Ministry. According to Minister Vanterpool, Aaron Mather, Coordinator for the EE/LL sewerage project will also be part of the project unit within the Ministry and he will report directly to Dr. Glasgow.
Minister Vanterpool had also dismissed the notion that funding for the sewerage works in the Road Town and East End/Long Look areas has dried up and hence Government temporarily stopped both projects.
The Minister said going forward, Government intends to fund the projects from the funds acquired through a Banco Popular loan and funds from the Consolidated Fund. Under a loan agreement with the bank, Government agreed to borrow $45 million with $30 million going towards the new Peebles Hospital project and the remaining $15 million was earmarked for the sewerage project.
Asked if the loan funds for the sewerage project have been exhausted, Minister Vanterpool indicated that as far as he is aware, the loan funds are still available.
Hon. Vanterpool has also boasted about the work already done, especially in the Road Town area to eliminate the flow of sewerage onto the streets.