Work has already begun in Roaring Creek Village to build a new Bridge. The Bridge is a part of a road rehabilitation project that will see several miles of the George Price highway upgraded. While the new bridge and its flood proof design will seek to better serve residents in the Cayo District, many Roaring Creek Village residents have expressed some concerns. A community meeting was held inside Roaring Creek Village last night where personnel from the Ministry of Works’ Road Rehabilitation Project were present to hear the concerns of Community members. One of those concerns has to do with the consultation of community members before work began on the bridge. Plus News Spoke to Chairman Ryan Garbutt who told us that he has no memory of any consultation taking place before the work began.
Ryan Garbutt, Chairman of Roaring Creek Village: When they started this discussion, they said that they had a previous consultation in 2014 and I’ve been a resident of roaring creek all my life. I have never heard of that
consultation, I never went to that consultation because I never heard of it. Anyway, the new bridge to start off with that is going to be somewhere about 10 to 12 feet higher than the existing bridge. The reason being that they took a level from the worst flood we ever had and elevated it some 3 meters higher. Now that means that it immediately creates a wall in front of the police station. That’s one concern as the police are being displaced already. This new road rehabilitation has two off ramps so that people living on the north and the south side of that bridge could
have access to their property. Now this causes displacement for some other people on both side, north and south. They have things in place to offset all of that, but our concern is that we think 95 percent of the audience last night never heard of the consultation and never went to the consultation. It was almost like a
complete surprise to us. The development is ok, but things like this need a constant communication and constant consultation to see how we could iron out some things. I mean, the police, let’s say they have to respond to a crime scene, they’ll have to go about 500 yards down the road to get on to the new highway. That’s one, the second things is they usually have their checkpoints. Now having a ten foot wall there, we have to see how you could resolve that part of it. For a couple of residents, they had to take off their verandah, because the off ramp passes close and you have to think about security. Then with those two existing bars that’s about 500 meters up, they have to change their parking because parking used to be in front and now they have to use probably one of the side access roads. So, it’s a lot of different things but honestly I think we needed better communication before this project had started.
Another concern that was raised in the meeting last night had to do with employment opportunities. According to Garbutt, villagers were informed that employment opportunities will be made after negotiations. Garbutt, however, says he wants a set date to give to his people.
Ryan Garbutt, Chairman of Roaring Creek Village: We asked, as we had some community members asking about job opportunities and they said they have something in place and it will take a while because they have to negotiate. But I don’t think there is much about negotiation, say they have this amount of vacancy and they talk to the consultant and see if they could offer residents from roaring creek who is directly affected by the bridge and this road. That they could offer something to the residents, as times are tough and you have a lot of people not working right now. If you give them an employment for 8 to 12 months, it’s something rather than nothing. So, we need a specific time as to when this job opportunity will come along. And if it will happen, because we don’t want people from outside. I understand that he is the contractor and has workers but he should offer something to residents here. He shouldn’t bring people from outside to come and do labor jobs, he should hire some of the people.
The Roaring Creek Village Council is planning to meet within the next two weeks, after which another consultation will be called.