Trough system leaves Chateaubelair with serious damage
There was considerable damage in several areas of the country on Thursday, October 29 from around 11 pm into the wee hours of the next day during the passage of trough system over St Vincent and the Grenadines.
In Chateaubelair, buildings lost their roofs, trees were uprooted and crop damage occurred, however the most serious physical damage was the undermining of the road leading to the Richmond Bridge deeming the bridge unsafe for vehicular traffic.
A large tree growing on the river bed had embedded its roots into the retaining wall, weakening it over time, so when the heavy winds came along with the force of the water, the tree was uprooted and the road undermined.
BRAGSA road supervisor Absalom Hooper told SEARCHLIGHT his organization is taking the situation seriously as Richmond Bridge is important to farmers, gravel miners and truckers, as well as the tourism industry. He also said the undermined area would be filled in and reinforced with large stones and sand so that traffic can pass over the bridge as soon as possible until a permanent solution can be worked out.
SEARCHLIGHT caught up with then area Representative Roland Patel Matthews at the scene, and he said that he hopes that a temporary fix can be applied, as the Richmond Bridge is important to the economic life of North Leeward and other areas. Matthews also said that should his party win the general elections, he would make the repair of the bridge a priority.
Matthews said the ULP administration has allowed the infrastructure of North Leeward to deteriorate and even after two bridges were affected two years ago, no assessment was done to the other bridges.
“Imagine these are PPP era bridges are what we still have today,” Matthews said.
Two houses at Sharpes Village lost their roofs during the passage of the weather system while Blue Waters Beach Club located on the water front had the roof if its balcony and lounge area blown away. The club, which underwent major refurbishment and expansion recently had been damaged by bad weather twice in the past.
Owner Joel Ras Natty Francois told SEARCHLIGHT that the matter was serious and the authorities should act accordingly and work along with persons who suffered damage to their properties. Despite the damage to his property Francois remains optimistic, “I’ve been down this road before and it’s no use turning back but this time the state must play its part to help resolve my situation, I-man ah Vincy too”, he stated.
Two years ago on November 7, the Sharpes Bridge collapsed after it was undermined by water activity; the Fitzhughes Bridge also suffered similar fate the day before. While a new bridge is being constructed in the Sharpes area, a bypass Bailey was bridge was erected at Fitzhughes.
The Richmond Bridge was opened in 1967 and suffered considerable damage during a trough system that passed in the first week of October 1977; that system also destroyed the pipes that conducted water to the hydro electric plant at Fitzhughes.