Preliminary efforts to repair the hurricane-damaged Public Works Department building and Water and Sewerage Department building on Jost Van Dyke are making progress, but the process is taking longer than planned in part because the damage is worse than initially believed, according to Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer.
On June 19 in the House of Assembly, opposition member Mitch Turnbull (R-D2), who represents the island, said he and Mr. Rymer had agreed that the conditions were “deplorable” and needed to be addressed promptly.
The minister noted that funding had been approved for minor repairs to the PWD building in early 2019, but time showed that the infrastructure had some bigger problems.
“After further assessment by the [PWD], the building was [declared] beyond remedial repair,” Mr. Rymer said. “The Public Works technicians have recently completed the designs for a more extensive renovation, to which I am currently awaiting the bill of quantities.”
Once that document is in hand, Mr. Rymer said, he will have a better idea of how much the repairs will cost and how long the project will take.
“Both the minister and I, with our naked eye, could see that those buildings were beyond repair,” Mr. Turnbull said. “I am happy to see now that something is being done.”
The WSD building was in a similarly untenable condition, according to the minister.
Mr. Rymer said only two WSD employees regularly work on the island, and they spend much of their time in the field.
But Mr. Turnbull said, “They need a proper building because with whatever materials that they have, if you go in the building you look straight through the roof — and when it rains, everything gets wet.”
Funding to address the WSD compounds in the amount of $723,223 was included in the 2020 budget, but renovation efforts were placed on hold when Covid-19 hit, Mr. Rymer said, adding that officials are awaiting direction from the Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Rymer also offered updates on numerous road projects in the territory.
Mr. Turnbull specifically questioned progress on JVD’s East End Road, Dog Hole Road leading to Foxy’s, and Mountain Road.
On Tortola, he asked about Mount Healthy Road leading to the Brewers Bay Community Centre, Ballast Bay Road near the bridge, Ridge Road from Chalwell Estate to Stoutt’s Lookout, Luck Hill Road, Mayaba Road, and Ants Hill Road in Cane Garden Bay.
Most of the road repairs are either getting under way or amid the early design stages, Mr. Rymer said, adding that his ministry will conduct a territory-wide road assessment soon.