Darville Gives Update on Government Projects in West Grand Bahama

With over $100 Million spent on infrastructural works on Grand Bahama, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville toured many of those projects in the West, to show Government Heads of Departments the progress of such works.

After touring Government projects in East Grand Bahama at the end of March, Dr. Darville, led an entourage to West Grand Bahama on Friday, April 7, 2017 to get a view of the projects taking place, which are expected to greatly enhance the lives of residents in West Grand Bahama.

According to Dr. Darville, the projects are in keeping with the Government’s fiscally sound policies, simultaneously honouring a commitment to advance the infrastructure and stimulate the economy of Grand Bahama.

The Western Tour started at the site of a unique Government Housing project that comprises middle class homes — unique in that they are being constructed in one of the upscale communities of Grand Bahama – Bahamia West Replat.

Said the Minister: “This housing project came about during an historic Cabinet meeting here on the island of Grand Bahama, when the Housing Minister and I announced finalization of contracts for the construction of 39 homes on the island.”  The contracts were awarded to 12 local contractors with combined value awarded totalling approximately $4 million.

From the Housing project, the Minister and his entourage travelled through Hawksbill near the National Emergency Management Agency to show off one of 21 ‘E-Noses’ erected in the Industrial Communities.  The sophisticated air quality sensors were part of recommendations made by the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization following a study on the effects of industrial plants within nearby neighborhoods.

“PAHO/WHO were contracted by the Government of The Bahamas to complete an Environment and Health Risk Assessment of Lewis Yard, Pinder’s Point and the surrounding settlements to determine, if any, the effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals to the environment and health of individuals in the residential areas,” explained Dr. Darville.

“The study was concluded in December 2015 and after years of speculation, it has been scientifically proven by this independent assessment that there are no environmental and health risk factors associated with living in close proximity to the industrial companies.”

The cost of the 21 E-Noses includes $125,400 (for equipment), $22,000 (for software) and $3,600 (for yearly SIM Card payment).

One of the crowning jewels in Dr. Darville’s Grand Bahama infrastructural projects is the Fishing Hole Causeway, better known as the Fishing Hole Bridge. It’s a contract that was awarded to ABC Construction at a cost of $6.2 million, with some added contingencies.

“I’m pleased to report that this project is moving on target, after being delayed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016,” said Minister Darville. “The bulk of all the pilings are on island and very shortly the contractor will begin to construct the bridge once they are finished with the ramp.

“The bridge itself will be about 900 feet long and will pass the complete Hawksbill Creek and will be somewhere between 12-14 feet in height. We conducted a study and it indicated from our Coastal Engineers that in the event of a category five storm, with surge coming in from the north, we can expect that surge to be about 10 feet. That means we will have clearance of some four feet.”

Minister Darville said that residents should begin to see the physical construction of the bridge going up within two to three weeks. Contractors are hoping to have the bridge completed in August of this year, but that projection is based on whether or not Grand Bahama is hit with a storm during the upcoming Hurricane season.

The West Grand Bahama Projects Tour ended with a stop at the site of the new Holmes Rock School and the West End Clinic.

“On September 8, 2016, the Government signed two contracts totaling $11 million to build the new Holmes Rock Junior High School,” explained Dr. Darville. “The school is expected to be a replica of the Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School in Freeport.

“The school is also envisioned as the nucleus of future new subdivisions in the Holmes Rock area. The government purchased nine acres of land for the school site and an additional 10 acres for the school’s sporting activities.”

The contracts were awarded to Brickhouse Construction, a firm headed by Lloyd Rolle, and RCL Construction, headed by West End native, Hilton Bowleg.

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