Swamped in West Bay
Landowners and municipality look for solutions to rainy season flooding

January 1st, 2007
by Tamy Emma Pepin


Inundated lot of Paradise Beach Club. Below: Plans for draining West Bay

Inundated lot of Paradise Beach Club. Below: Plans for draining West Bay

West Bay used to be a natural marshland periodically flooded during the rainy season and with a natural drainage to the sea through a small estuary at the lowest lying point- the North portion of Foster Diaz’s property. Over time West Bay was subdivided into dozens of individual lots with owners often filling their lots with red clay.

With the rainy season at full swing properties are flooded and owners are running out of ideas as to where to put their water. “The water is just being shuffled from one property to another,” says Murray Russ, owner of Captain Van’s Rental in West Bay. The drainage problem aggravates the mosquito breeding problem and possibility of malaria outbreak.

At the back of Paradise Beach Club, the view resembles a lake. “We’ve been pumping to Henry Morgan but it’s not working,” said Nicole Schneider, daughter and commercial manager of father-owned Paradise Beach Club. West Bay land owners are currently responsible for their individual draining and pumping system, sending the water wherever they can, in most cases to Henry Morgan.

Diagram of proposed rainwater drainage system.

Diagram of proposed rainwater drainage system.

“The drain is clogged,” said Ron Smith, vice-president of the West Bay Community Association. The West Bay community is pointing the finger towards Sea Vue owners James and Karma Howell, whose repeated absence from the West Bay Community Association meetings has upset many. When it rains the water mixed with the earth and come down from the hill of the Howell’s property. It created a muddy flow which overflowed onto the main road, clogged up the main road’s ditch, and flooded adjacent properties.

On Sunday, December 10, Mayor Dale Jackson issued a 48 hour order for the Howells to clean up the drain, which they did not respect. During the same day Mayor Jackson spent five hours with the West Bay community. “We walked to every single property to evaluate everyone’s situation,” said Smith.

Four days later, the Association met with Mayor Jackson at the municipal to find a solution. West Bay association members agreed that the community needs a south-north running gravity main pipe with smaller pipes connecting to it along the existing beach access streets. The main pipe would then be pumped across to Henry Morgan owned vacant lot and water would naturally follow its course to Foster’s.

Pierro Di Bautista, owner of Henry Morgan, offered to pay for the study of the new drainage system on condition that the community would do its best to implement it. There were several studies made for draining West Bay funded by Henry Morgan and PMAIB, but none were ever implemented.

Sea Vue owners were issued a 48 Municipal order to clear the clogged-up drain. “We will make sure those who don’t respect the new law get reprehended,” said Mayor Jackson. And things might get tougher still as talk of imposing fines, revocations of building permits and even demolishing were discussed. [/private]

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