Concern voiced over demolition of heritage buildings City Council Roundup
by Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
July 19, 2004

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Home owners in the city should beware that their residences may be on the list of structures identified by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) for special treatment as historic buildings.

In a note to Town Clerk Beulah Williams, the CHPA expressed grave concern over the demolition of several "prominent wooden buildings, particularly at a time when UNESCO is seeking to promote Georgetown for world heritage city status."

The note made specific reference to the "recent demolition of the building at the south eastern corner of Main and Lamaha streets in Georgetown."

The CHPA has said that notwithstanding the destruction of the building in question, in association with the National Trust of Guyana it would like to ensure that rebuilding operations on the site, result in a building which is well harmonised with its environment both in terms of its designs and scale.."

The point was made that the site falls within the designated conservation area in the emerging Greater Georgetown Development Plan.

The Authority has asked for the full support of the City Engineer's Department in the process of managing rebuilding operations at the said site (Lamaha and Main streets) ensuring that appropriate design standards are displayed.

The CHPA also wants to know in advance of any plans for rebuilding in the city so that it could initiate negotiations in order to prevent what took place at Main and Lamaha streets.

The nature of the building works being carried out at the site immediately east of the National Library is also cause for worry for the Authority.

According to the CHPA "the construction detracts from the amenity value of Georgetown's historic district, particularly since the set back required from the southern boundary of the site has been violated." The City Engineer's Department has been called upon to put up a report.

It should be noted that construction works on the building in question started more than one year ago.

The money crunch

A suggestion by the Inter-American Development Bank that the city council increase its solid waste collection from once to twice per week has not found favour with the council. There are no funds to undertake such an exercise now. However twice weekly collection of garbage will continue in what was known as old Georgetown. The council is responsible for collecting garbage from the area covering Agricola to Atlanticville.

Two garbage collection firms Cevons Waste Management Inc. and Puran Bros. Disposal Service have won the contracts to undertake the garbage removal. They have been doing this work for the council for several years, and will be receiving a forty per cent increase on the existing rates.

The two contracting companies that have been doing satisfactory work in Georgetown will now have to pick up bulky waste such as tree trimmings while at the same time keeping vehicles on standby for emergencies.

Meanwhile the flouting of the city's by-laws continues and from all indications may be getting worse, as irresponsible, reckless and unruly persons as well as those of unsound minds dump garbage all over the city even at the entrance of the cenotaph in downtown Georgetown.

No one takes notice of the municipal signs warning persons not to dump garbage at certain spots. Admittedly some of the signs are taken over by high grass and bush which decorate the parapets and council reserves.

Meanwhile the garbage trucks operating in certain parts of the city have attracted a new type of garbage collectors. These persons armed with bags and boxes follow the trucks on foot ready to forage the garbage bins as they are rolled out from yards awaiting the trucks.


The Mayor and the computer…

Mayor Hamilton Green after complaining to councillors at statutory meetings that he needs a computer in his office may soon be getting his wish, but he has been told that it is not for his exclusive use although the instrument would be in his private office.

Time off for the Deputy Mayor...

Councillor Robert Williams, who has been deputising for Mayor Green at statutory meetings and chairing meetings to sort out the council's financial affairs which remain in a parlous state, has taken 8 days off. He would be taking part in a dominoes tournament abroad. He surely deserves the respite.

In shambles…

The newly created Information Technology (IT) unit in the City Hall compound is still to get off the ground providing the service which was promised at its launching more than two years ago. A report which came before the council at last Monday's sitting reveals a rivalry among certain officers to become the IT czar.