Heyliger: “Our infrastructure is not designed for the rains we’ve had”

POSTED: 01/20/12 12:58 PM

A bus driver takes a wide turn as he exits Back Street next to the Kadaster to avoid a sunken area in the road. Minister of Housing, Physical Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Theodore Heyliger has announced that work will likely start next week to repair the entire street.

Financial challenges cause continued sewage and infrastructure problems

St. Maarten – Minister of Housing, Physical Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Theodore Heyliger announced in Parliament on Thursday that a new sewage treatment facility will be placed in Cole Bay. The facility is being designed but the minister is not sure whether it will be a large facility or a smaller plant. While Heyliger believes putting smaller plants in each district is a good idea but that would mean purchasing lots in several places, while larger plants will allow for centralized sewage treatment.

The announcement of the new plant was part of the wider responses to questions by Members of Parliament on the state of the country’s infrastructure and its effects on the environment. Heyliger told MPs that sewage is and will continue to be a major problem until the government can access funding to do a major overhaul of the system. There is also a need to connect homes and businesses to the main sewer lines.
The fact that rain water eats away at the country’s roads due to a lack of drains is also a major challenge for the government. The rain also contributes to sewage tanks overflowing. Despite the concerns though Heyliger has said his ministry does not have the money to meet everyone’s priorities.
“2011 was the most rain I’ve seen. Our infrastructure is not designed for the rains we’ve had. Drainage must go with building roads or we’ll continuously be repairing roads. There are massive projects that need to be done in drainage and sewage, a lot of which comes down to money and I can tell you that in 2011 the ministry’s budget for repairs was depleted by September/October and it is one of the smallest in government,” Heyliger said.

The minister also announced that four major projects that began in 2011 will reach conclusion this year. Middle Region, which the minister believes is an example of the standard of work that should be used in future, will be finished by June.
“Every side road in Middle Region has a grill so the water runs off,” Heyliger said in order to cite an example.
Other projects that will be rounded off are the laying of the new sewage line in Cole Bay – April -, phase two of laying a sewage line from South Reward to Cake House – mid-August – and Dutch Quarter – July.
Heyliger also announced that repairs to Back Street will likely begin next week. The government has discussed the matter with the contractor and they have agreed to do the work even though the three year guarantee is finished.

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