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Why the cross- country road must be built – part II

Why the cross- country road must be built – part II

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by Dr. Jerrol Thompson

The digital mapping, using laser technology, commenced in May 2002 and provided details of the terrain to the nearest square foot. Unfortunately, an unexpected increase in cloud cover prevented sufficient detailed pictures of the crucial interior and only allowed mapping of the more coastal areas of the country.{{more}}

The digital mapping of the interior resumed in February 2004 (this year after a long delay of almost nine months). In spite of this delay in digital mapping for the interior, the Taiwanese engineers were able to use the digital information they had to produce extensive and detailed designs of the approach roads from Troumaca to Rose Hall and Colonarie to Ferguson Mountain.

In a recent radio discussion, I had to correct Daniel Cummings in that he was again misinformed with his claim that these detailed designs were not done. They are readily available and I have personally seen copies.

The environmental cataloguing also revealed that the tatoo was the most significant cause of deforestation. This animal was inappropriately introduced into St. Vincent about 40 years ago and since then has multiplied uncontrollably. It burrows under the roots of trees and any strong winds, like Lilli and Ivan, simply topple the trees like skittles.

The final report of the environmental cataloguing clearly shows that the current proposed road passes just north of the top of the parrot’s habitat and even further from the habitat of the Whist-ling Warbler.

The route finally selected on the Leeward side, was well over the mountain ridge in the Linley Valley (Rose Hall) and not in the Cumberland – Hermitage Valley. On the windward side, the route was south of the Jennings Valley.

The article “Cross Fire over Cross Country Road” in last week’s Searchlight displayed one of the maps from the final Environmental Cataloguing Report. It shows the two possible routes used as part of the Terms of Reference for the cataloguing. The cataloguing clearly showed that the lower, southern route through Hermitage would have environmental concerns and it was eliminated in 2003. The inclusion of the map in the article could give the impression that this southern route is still being considered. The map did not display the explanatory details or legends. Since the road will not pass through Hermitage, it will not affect this valuable water source. However, the NDP and its technical advisors have been dishonest in promoting the view that the road passes through Hermitage. Searchlight should also correct this possible misinterpretation.

Having the designs for the approach roads and the designs of the interior roads well in progress and nearing completion, all that remains is the detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the northern route.

The terms Environmental Cataloguing (EC) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have produced some confusion as they sound similar. The EIA is not to determine if the road can be built. This has already been determined by the Environmental Cataloguing. The EIA will define the mitigating or corrective factors that will minimize the impact of the road on the environment, along each foot of the road such as back walls, drainage, bridges, tunnels, geological features, the type of excavation and how to address these and other features.

This government is committed to a logical, scientific approach to ensuring that environmental hazards and concerns are addressed, significantly minimized or eliminated.

The NDP has officially stated, in their October 15th column, that they have no objection to the rehabilitation of the two approach roads (Troumaca to Rose Hall and Colonarie to Ferguson Mountain). This official statement, nevertheless, is tempered with another common expression “Why Troumaca and Rose Hall, there are other places far more important.” This is reminiscent of the NDP’s 1994 attempt to close the Troumaca Secondary School because it was considered not to be cost effective to provide secondary education in Troumaca.

We can help to develop this nation with a serious, honest and logical approach to development and the conservation of the environment. There is a major attempt to mislead the people of this nation by the NDP and those who know or should know the facts but clearly have an axe to grind. The question is why the attempt.

Editors note: We at Searchlight would never make adjustments to a map taken from a report prepared by Ivor Jackson Associates to insert our own information on the same. We are thankful that Dr. Thompson, possessing information we obviously did not have access to, has chosen to provide us with his updated map of what he says in the new approved route of this cross-country road project.

Dr. Thompson’s version of that map is reproduced in this edition.