From as early as next week, engineers from the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) are expected to commence preliminary inspections of the US$9.1 million South Coast Boardwalk, in preparation for wide-ranging maintenance repairs to the popular site.

According to CZMU Director, Dr. Leo Brewster, in keeping with the rigorous maintenance programme associated with the Boardwalk’s upkeep, the department would be seeking to ensure that work commences before the end of this financial year in March, or by the start of the next one in mid-April.

"We have a lot of maintenance work to do on the Boardwalk. I know that it still looks beautiful and everything, but the amount of pedestrian traffic that has traversed it over the last two and a half years is significant. ??Some areas have been down (installed) for two years and some for as much as three …so there is definite need for some maintenance," Dr. Brewster explained in an exclusive interview with the Barbados Government Information Service.

In providing technical details, Project Manager and Engineer, Antonio Rowe, said there were various aspects of the engineering structure that would need work.

In terms of the boards, he noted that attention would be paid to certain sections which get ???overtopped’, for example in the area of the former Caribbee Hotel and the Alamanda Beach Hotel, with a view to taking then up and clearing out the sand build up below to facilitate better drainage.

He also emphasised that they would generally be inspected for flaking, chipping, warping, breakages and loose screws for replacement.

The Engineering official explained they would also be inspecting the stones which form the "revetment" (boulders placed in the sea and built to a certain slope as a protective barrier) along the Boardwalk to ensure that there was no displacement or breakage.

According to Mr. Rowe,?? existing?? drains?? which run underneath the Boardwalk?? at the eastern end near to Accra, which are?? adjacent to Magic Isle Beach Apartments and?? Almond Bay, would?? also?? be cleared?? to prevent?? flooding and mosquito breeding at these properties.

In terms of aesthetics, the project manager disclosed landscaping would be done on a monthly basis to ensure that the vegetation did not become a nuisance to users, or a haven for criminal elements He added that areas along the bottom steps of the Boardwalk would also be power-washed to rid them of moss which could be hazardous to persons who venture to walk on the low-lying areas.

"Garbage cans at Rockley will continue to be cleared by the National Conservation Commission, which is also responsible for keeping the Boardwalk clear of all sand. The same goes for Holetown," he emphasised.

In terms of the actual inspection, Mr. Rowe revealed that the process would be starting from the western end of the Boardwalk, looking at stone structures right up to ??

Magic Isle, following which quotations would be sought for the requisite work.

"Once we identify what maintenance needs to be done, we will be notifying the public, and giving persons early warnings as to when work will be carried out. Of course this means that certain sections of the Boardwalk will have to be closed at different times, so we will endeavour to have the work expedited as quickly as possible. We know that the Boardwalk is heavily traversed in the early hours of the morning and late evenings, so this will have to be taken into consideration," he surmised.

Mr. Rowe, who expressed satisfaction in the fact that the engineering structure, which was done as a means of shoreline protection in the fight against climate change, had become such an integral part of Barbadian life, and stressed the need for its continued upkeep.

"The bane of our existence in Government is for people to say that we build these things and don’t look back. This project was very costly, and the loan must be repaid and it is us taxpayers who will have to do so, so we cannot be lax in any way," he concluded.??

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