Image: Town and Country Development??Planning Office??

The residents of Allen View, St. Thomas, have been given the assurance that the Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme (HNUP), will result in an improved sewerage system for the environmentally-sensitive area.

Word of this came from Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley as he addressed over 60 residents of the area, at a town hall meeting at the Natural Heritage Department, Sturges, St. Thomas, last Saturday evening.

Many of the residents, though pleased about the pending improvements to their neighbourhood, raised concerns about the capacity of the new sewerage system to be built, the phasing of the project and their ability to enhance their homes or to build new houses in Allen View, after the project had been completed.??

The Allen View development is scheduled to begin in September and is expected to last 18 months, beginning with toilet add-ons.?? Mr. Lashley noted:?? "The infrastructural project is estimated to cost close to BDS $5.5 million and will include the construction of a sewerage treatment plant, trenching and pipe work, the creation of 32 manholes, 61 house connections; four septic tanks and filter beds; utility associated remedial work; road resurfacing; surface water drainage, 12 household toilet add-ons and the construction of 540 square metres of new road to provide another access for the community."????

He stated that the plans for the toilet add-ons had already been submitted to the Town & Country Development Planning Office, and promised that his Ministry would convene another meeting shortly and invite a representative of that department to further discuss any issues that would impact the area.

Meanwhile, in response to concerns about the capacity of the central sewerage system, Architect/Partner at Design Collaborative, Robert O’Neil, explained that the new sewerage system was being built with the future in mind.????

"It will have additional capacity based on the area that is being covered and will allow for additional bedrooms and homes. I am pretty sure that it can be incrementally expanded if Allen View becomes very highly developed and needed additional capacity," he said.??

Mr. O’Neil noted that there were a number of farmers in the area and this was discussed with the engineers, who indicated that the effluent would have to be treated in a specific manner before it went into the system.

Allen View is located directly above the Harrison’s Cave Zone of Special Environment Control. ??A policy on the area came into existence in 1984 to ensure that no sewage entered the cave.??

The Environment Control policy states that: "There shall be no new development within the restricted area, except it is associated with Harrison’s Cave; the practice of Class 1 agriculture is strictly prohibited; there shall be no change of use; there shall be no subdivision of land which results in the creation of vacant lots; existing buildings will be allowed improvements subject to the special conditions for sewerage disposal now

enforced in Zone 1 areas, e.g. disposal through an approved septic tank and approved filter bed containing gravel and activated carbon before disposal into a soak-away no more than 4.5 m deep; and, there shall be no increase in the capacity of any building, for example, a single family house cannot be upgraded to a two-family unit."

The town hall meeting follows a similar one held recently for residents of Garden Land, St. Michael.?? The objective of the HNUP is to upgrade select low income communities across Barbados, to provide solutions to the challenge of affordable housing and incremental home construction and to strengthen the agencies involved in the provision of housing and neighbourhood revitalisation.??

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