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#511677 - 02/17/16 11:06 AM New Drainage Solution For City
Marty Offline
The municipal drainage project is a 21 million dollar IDB funded project focusing on the drains on the northside of Belize City. It started in late 2011, and should finish by the end of next month. Major work has been done to strengthen or create at least 4 canals, and to build large drains and sidewalks in the Belama Area. The longest canal was built under Cinderella Plaza. It connects to the existing canal on Douglas Jones Street - but stretches it all the way to the sea by Princess, going through Calle Al Mar. IT's a canal that's five foot wide by five feet deep and runs for 540 meters. Today the Ministry of works engineers along with personnel from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance, and The Department of the Environment toured the drainage project, and we tagged along. Here's the story of what they did at Cinderella Plaza:..

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"We had an existing stretch which was from Freetown towards the creek and then the new section was from Freetown towards the sea, going through Baymen Avenue, Kelly Street Calle al Mar, across Barack Road and then towards the sea. From Freetown towards Calle al Mar towards the sea. That is the new infrastructure that we place in which is a 5x5 section and that was done by Median Construction."

Jules Vasquez
"How will that work when there is a spring tide, a very high tide."

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"When the high tide comes, the water from the sea comes towards the canal into the canal and flows towards Haulover Creek."

Jules Vasquez
"Through Douglas Jones Street?"

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"Yes, it's very minimum. So when we have flooding, the same thing happens with Haulover creek; waters flows towards the sea."

Jules Vasquez
"So it works both ways?"

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"Yes it works both ways. So if the water use to stay here for at least let's say 8 hours, now it's reduced to at least hour and a half to two hours. We know that Belize City is in a low laying area. Most of Belize City is basically at sea level. Some areas is below sea level, but that's why we are trying to do infrastructure - try to assist these residence so that they don't have flooding in such a way. We are trying to avoid that."

MOW To Citco: We Won’t Pave It

And while there is a spectacular new drain running under Cinderella Plaza, up above you wouldn't know because the street is in deplorable condition. Last week the Mayor of Belize City told us that the Ministry of Works would finish up the paving - and today the Ministry told us that's not what the fine print says - and they won't do it:...

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"Well the last time it was mentioned or Mayor Bradley mentioned that it's our responsibility. We just want to make clear that this is not our responsibility. It is still under Belize City Council, not under Ministry of Works, nor Flood Mitigation. Just a clarification on that."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it that the Mayor misspoke or that he had not read the technical documents which you have read?"

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"No. Like I said at every turn after meetings are concluded I brief the mayor on what the status is and like I am banking on that, that if there us sufficient or adequate funding remaining from the project then why not put it there. But if that does not materialize then the city has to incur the cost of to fix the Cinderella Plaza area."

Jules Vasquez
"So the mayor knowingly misspoke?"

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"No. We are saying that if there is contingency fund available, we can make a formal request that it goes there."

But, The Bike Path…

But one thing the Ministry of Works did do for city hall was create a bike path on Juliet Soberanis Street in Belama Phase one. True, it's only by signage and street paint, but it's a nice touch, except hardly anyone pays attention to it. We asked the engineers about it today:...

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"The idea is to allow the cyclists to have their own stretch. They can ride their bicycles freely. But as we can see a lack of communication with residents or let's say public awareness that residents they just park right occupying the bike path. So it's something that I think Belize City Council will have to inform the public the reason why we have these bike paths."

Tomorrow, we'll go deeper into Belama, to Phase 4, where creating drains basically in swamps was a major engineering challenge.

Channel 7


Ministry of Works Engineers Tour Belize City Canals

Today, stakeholders from the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project conducted a tour across the drainage network in the city – from the Douglas Jones Canal to the Maheia Canal on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The project was launched in October 2014 and was designed to provide critical relief of the flooding woes suffered by residents after every prolonged period of heavy rain. The work is nearing completion, and today Mike Rudon tagged along with members of the Flood Mitigation team to assess the works. Here’s that story.

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project, launched in 2014, was funded by the IDB to the tune of twenty million dollars, with counterpart funding of one point five million dollars from the Government of Belize. It was designed to address administration and institutional strengthening, but the major component was civil works and infrastructure in two prongs – street improvement and drainage improvement.

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, FMIP

“Under drainage, we have the construction of four canals. We have three canals completed, which is Douglas Jones, Northside and Bill Lindo Canal. The one ongoing right now is Maheia’s Canal which should be completed by the end of next month. Street improvement – we have two streets completed which is Juliet Soberanis and Loop Road which is in Belama Phase Four. We have ongoing Albert Hoy, which is the longest with one point six kilometers, equivalent to one mile of street improvement and then Link Road which we had some delay in the activity.”

Today’s tour of the city drainage system included representation from NEMO, the Ministries of Economic Development and Finance and the Department of the Environment. The representative from the Belize City Council pleaded urgent business elsewhere. The team inspected the drainage canals and flows from Douglas Jones and Calle Al Mar to the sea, and the Haulover Creek. Those components of the project are done, but the Maheia’s Canal has been the proverbial thorn in the side of the team.

Rolando Chan

“We had big challenges and it’s going through, but at a very slow pace. It’s very delicate. We had piling for example close to the Maheia’s building and the other house on the side. We had to demolish fences that were not part of the contract but we had to do it so it’s been very challenging with piling and placing of canal sections. But like I mentioned we should have that contract completed by next month.”

And that includes this section of the Phillip Goldson Highway which has frustrated drivers for month.

Rolando Chan

“Last week Thursday, the contractor moved with the grader. They scarified that section and they were supposed to pave. But then weather didn’t permit, or the section would have been paved. But as soon as we get some good weather we are monitoring and the contractor will be advised that they should continue that activity and finalize it as quickly as possible, but it’s part of the job that we have to execute.”

Of course, the real proof of this project pudding will be whenever the city experiences another few inches of sustained rains. Mike Rudon for News Five.

Engineers Say Mayor Bradley Has Cinderella Plaza All Wrong

While the site inspectors assess the success of the project works, the Belize City Council has come under fire for sections which have been left in a terrible condition – namely Cinderella Plaza, Kelly Street and Baymen Avenue. Mayor Darrell Bradley has maintained that those works will be a part of the Flood Mitigation Project. As recently as a few days ago, Bradley poked blame at the project contractor. But was the Mayor being disingenuous? According to Project Manager Rolando Chan, that certainly appears to be the case. 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor [File: February 10th, 2016]

“Well it is not completed its going to be completed when the street is finished in terms of the section of Baymen Avenue and in terms of Cinderella Plaza. We have a councilor who sits on the steering committee for the Flood Mitigation Project; he is involved in the discussions and so forth. I am confident and we are pushing them in relation to completing that as soon as possible because it is a major woe for residents. The Cinderella Plaza is a major access way and we need that area to be repaired and fixed. I can’t speak in relation to the specific timeline but I can say that it is going to be done.”

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, FMIP

“I would clarify that. The situation is that our activity or our project only entails Douglas Jones Canal. Cinderella Plaza, Kelly Street and Baymen Avenue – the section from Calle Al Mar towards Kelly – that is the responsibility of the Belize City Council – I know in the news I heard Mayor Bradley mentioning that it is our responsibility. I just want to clarify that it’s the responsibility of the Belize City Council. It doesn’t have anything to do with our project. We have a Memorandum of Understanding where the agreement is only to do the Canal from Freetown towards the sea.”

Reporter

“So just to clarify – this area – you all are done here?”

Rolando Chan

“Yes we are completed, we are finished. We finished this project in the first week of August and the Unit sent a specific letter to the Mayor that the City Council can start completing their activity which is doing anything in relation to their infrastructure with Cinderella, Kelly and Baymen. So it’s in their hands now.”

Channel 5


Ministry of Works Engineers Tour Belize City Canals

Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project changes the face of Northside Belize City


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#511705 - 02/18/16 10:55 AM Re: New Drainage Solution For City [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belama Drainage Capped Off By A 2 Million Dollar Canal

And councillor Willoughby was brought into harness yesterday when the Ministry of Workers toured the 21 million dollar Municipal Drainage project. The City Council will inherit the project and Willoughby sits on the Committee. The engineers met their greatest challenge in trying to regularize drainage in the swampland communities in Belama phases 3 and 4. We had a look yesterday:…

Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation

"It's very challenging; you can't imagine it is very difficult. It is difficult in the design stage and it is even worse at the execution, the implementation stage."

That’s the reality for engineers and work crews trying to bill drainage on the very low lying Delcia Goff Street in Belama Phase 3."

Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation

"Well initially what was here was one small 10 foot patch of road leading all the way to the canal. We will be expanding that to almost 24 feet wide road with 5 foot drains and 5 foot sidewalks on both sides."

That means battling against a water table that's right there and structural failures are not uncommon - just look at this leaning house

Jules Vasquez

"How challenging is this component of the project being that A. you're really working in raw swamp and B. this area has no infrastructure, it just popped up, it was just forced into being?"

Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation

"It is very challenging, we have to be working in swamp water and it has its smell of course and then the infrastructure we put down has to be significant to ensure that we don't have any structural failure."

It’s not so difficult on Albert Hoy Street where the five foot drains abut a newly – if poorly paved street:

Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation

"We need to ensure that the Belama area if you notice the whole Albert Hoy runs along the whole Belama area so we need to ensure that all the area is drained and this drain will accomplish this task."

But drainage, lest we forget, will only lessen flooding runoff times, it will not eliminate it:

Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation

"Flooding we cannot stop due to the amount of rain fall and the low lying areas but we will mitigate, it will reduce the retention time. So when there was water and it stayed for weeks, we hope to accomplish a time reduction to probably just a few hours.

Perhaps the biggest component in this drainage network is the Mejia Canal which runs from Link Road out to the sea. It is the vena cava, the main vein for drainage in Phases 3 and 4. It is ten feet wide by five feet deep runs for nearly one thousand meters cost almost 2 million dollars by itself.

Rolando Chan - Project Manager, Flood Mitigation

"This is one of the most important canal along with Bill Lindo canal because we have existing canals also but we connect and the water flows directly to the sea, so it’s really important."


Mayor Still Waffling On Plaza Paving

Last night we told you about the situation with Cindarella Plaza in Belize City. One week ago, the Mayor said that the Ministry of Works would pave it – and yesterday the Ministry said it would do no such thing: they built the canal underneath the street; paving the surface is CITCO’s job. Yesterday, Councillor Phillip Willoughby said that they’re hoping that when the 21 million dollar municipal drainage is finished – there’ll be some contingency funds available to come up with the half a million dollars or so need to pave that stretch and a portion of Baymen Avenue. Well, truth is there won’t be; the money has all been spent or programmed. So we asked the Mayor today what’s going to happen:

Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City

"The reality though is that the area has to be completed, it will either be completed by the project or if not by some other agency including the city council so that we're trying to see how we can work with the various entities to ensure that's done as soon as possible. Last time we had our public meeting; this was one of the things that was raised. Two pivotal areas were raised, Cindarella Plaza and the area in front of Publics and I think that these are two areas where admittedly there is public disquiet in relation to the lack of completion of those projects and these are two areas that the city council has placed as a priority. So the next works that occur will occur along Cindarella Plaza and along the area of East and West Canal."

"The city council has the legal mandate for street construction and maintenance, that's by law, this is a city council street, ultimately the responsibility is for the city council. The flood mitigation project is a project that is internationally funded; it’s funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. The implementing agency is the Ministry of Works; we as the city council are a stakeholder because we have the legal obligation to deal with road works. We have Councillor Phillip Willoughby who is providing coordination efforts between the flood mitigation project as a member of the steering committee and the city council in terms of the inspections and ensuring we have community involvement and ensuring that we do cooperative efforts. For example several of the streets that were done under that project was done by the city council but the flood mitigation project did the side-walks and we cooperate in other areas; ultimately however if we continue to have a delay then its city's responsibility because the law places that responsibility on the Belize City council for the maintenance and construction of streets."

Again, the Ministry of Works has said they have no funds to pave the area.

Channel 7


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#511729 - 02/19/16 10:59 AM Re: New Drainage Solution For City [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Drainage: What About The Southside?

For the past two nights, we've been looking at the 21 million dollar municipal drainage project. It''s focused only on the northside - mostly on the areas of Belama Phases 3 and 4 which grew out of swamp and suffered for years with very serious flooding that just wouldn't run off. Tonight we look at the broader flooding picture:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
The genesis of the municipal drainage project was in 2008 - when any extreme weather event would produce major flooding in the new phase of Belama:

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"If you would recall at the time fresh into City Council, it was the year 2008 and I stand corrected. The Dean Barrow administration just recently elected to office had to deal with this first flooding event."

Fast forward to 2015, and nearly 22 million dollars has been spent on drainage - much of it in Belama. But already, garbage is clogging this freshly cleaned canal.

Even while they work on cleaning it, more garbage is being thrown here:

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"To admire the infrastructure is one thing. That is physical. Keeping in mind now to this point, at least about 20 plus 15 cubic-sized dump trucks have transferred garbage or waste material from within this canal and surrounding areas. It cannot be business as usual. We cannot continue to live in this style and fashion. Now it can't be now that another month or so from now an additional 20 loads of material garbage would have to be dredge from these canals waterways to be carted away. That's money - that's a huge substantial amount of money that can go into additional infrastructure work."

But what about additional infrastructure work for the southside? As we saw last year, they are most vulnerable to floods, and the housing stock is the poorest:

Jules Vasquez
"Is there an excessive fixation on the Northside when in fact the south side is the most vulnerable and most flood prone?"

Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation
"Well this is a pilot project. I exactly don't know what will be if the government if the day foresee other project in relation to flooding. So at this point I cannot say. It's only for this area."

So, we'll wait and see how long it will be before meaningful drainage relief comes for the southside.

Channel 7


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