Mayor Says City Getting Ready For Rains

The rains are upon us- well almost anyways. Belize's typical rainy season starts in late May or early June. And as sure as the rains will fail, if you live in Belize City, you can count on your street being flooded - even if only for a few hours. And while there's only so much you can do about floods in a city at sea level, what about all those clogged drains? They don't clean themselves - and so is the city council busy cleaning them before the rains? Here's what the mayor told us today:...

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
"We have 3 crews going out right now as we speak and they've been doing this for the last 2 months in terms of certain strategic areas of Belize City and their focu s is exclusively on drain cleaning. They've been working in Lake Independence; we have a crew deployed in parts of Caribbean Shores; we have a crew deployed in sections of Port Loyola and we have a crew deployed in sections of Collet. We are also working quiet closely with the Flood Mitigation Project in relation to certain aspects with the improvement of the canal works that they have been doing over the last year and a half. One of the things that we have also identified is the importance of trying to get the community onboard, because often times assets are developed, drains are cleaned but one of the things we've noticed is that a lot of people block the drains because they don't have a culvert. We actually have a program going through where we're providing culverts for people who call in to the council and request it. Again, budget permitting, we're also working and meeting with neighborhoods so that they don't throw garbage in the canal which causes a problem as well so that the problem itself isn't just addressed by sending a massive amount of people out cleaning drains. We know that this is a big part of it and we do have personnel going around, we do this every single year when we are anticipating the rainy season. I think we also monitor the run off time so that we see areas like in front of the Queen Street Police Station, in front of ITVET on Freetown Road and we actually time the run off. We've noticed that they are improving because of the drain cleaning efforts and also because of the Flood Mitigation Project. We want to make sure that we continued to make gains in relation to that aspect of it, but a huge part of this also has to be getting the public on board in relation to sanitation and public health issues and in terms of ensuring that the drains are not blocked by sand, people doing construction or if you don't have a culvert or people who, for whatever reason, throw garbage in the water passage ways and they block the flow."

So while the mayor says those works are well underway, what about the 300 thousand dollar loan from Social Security Board that the City Hall will use to replace some 300 plus manhole covers? If you've ever fallen into one, you'll know how urgently those repairs are needed! So what will be done, and when? Today we got an update from the mayor

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
"Two things we are doing at the same time, we are finalizing the terms of the loan which is approximately $250,000 for more than 3,000 manholes throughout Belize City. That will deal with all or most of the manholes and then also what we have done is we have received bids and those bids have been open and they are dealing with the selection. That's being led by Councilor Deon Leslie and Councilor Michael Theus. The issue of the manhole covers was something which came as a result of the danger that it presents to members of the public, not looking and then the falling in an open manhole and so we are covering all of these. The understanding I have is that all the works will be done by concrete, so that it's going to be very firm and sealed. We will also do coverings of manhole by these metal covers. When we do that, unfortunately lots of people steal them and we also use to use wood because it's cheaper, but we notice that sometimes people drive vehicles on the sidewalks and then they break them. In any system that we use, it's not perfect. But we should see that project come before the ending of this month, in terms of actual work ongoing. The bidding process in terms of finalizing who will be the contractor should not take longer than a week and I know that the councilors with responsibility for that are working quite aggressively in relation to having that project start."

The loan is for three years at the rate of 6% percent per annum on the declining balance.

Channel 7