Major sea defence works completed
Guyana Chronicle
November 7, 2006

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MAJOR sea defence works have been completed at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, in keeping with the government’s thrust to strengthen and improve sea and river defences throughout the country, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported yesterday.

It said that following the destruction of sections of the sea defence by extremely high tides in October last year, the government initiated a $200M project for remedial works at Leonora and nearby Stewartville.

Mr Doodnauth Lochan, attached to the Ministry of Public Works and Communications Sea Defence Unit in Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) told the agency that about 500 tonnes of boulders were used to strengthen the sea defence.

Following the collapse of sections of the sea defence destruction, GINA said, a survey by personnel of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications revealed that only the old sea defence structures were affected by the high tides and there was no report of overtopping or breaches in the areas where ‘rip-rap’ sea defence were put in place. Due to its effectiveness, the ‘rip-rap’ construction has been utilised in many areas, it noted.

According to the agency, the government’s sea defence infrastructure enhancement programme continues in several areas along the coast.

Work, it said, is ongoing at Wakenaam Island in the Essequibo River, where 296 metres of ‘rip-rap’ structure at Rush Brook and 71 metres at Maria Johanna are being constructed at a cost of $113M and $42.8M, respectively while $73M is being spent at Zeelandia to construct 183 metres of `rip-rap’ sea defence.

Other areas in Region Three have also been reinforced, GINA said, adding that in September, almost $300M was spent to construct several metres of sea defence on Leguan Island, also in the Essequibo River.

An additional 265 metres of sea defence at Blenheim on the island were done, the agency reported, while some $200M is being spent to construct a total of 450 metres of ‘rip-rap’ structure at Ruimzeight and Crane, West Coast Demerara under separate projects covering 225 metres in each area.

The government, GINA said, has allocated more than $2B this year to continue the sea defence programme. About $650M of this sum is being spent on emergency works to critical sea and river defences in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six. The sum of $1.1B is being spent to undertake sea defence reinforcement at Profit/Foulis/Belladrum, Capoey/Columbia, Tuschen and Hague.

Projects in Regions Two and Three are being carried out under a $3.6B programme funded under the infrastructural component of the 8th European Union (EU) Development Fund, the agency said. The contract for these works was awarded last August and is being carried out through a joint venture between a local company, B.K International and Gelfi Impressor, an Italian firm.

The supply of materials for emergency works at various locations and execution of a socio-economic study and a public awareness programme are also included in this phase.

The study will determine the value of the land and the impact of sea defence while the public awareness programme seeks to improve the level of awareness of the coastal zone population on all features of the sea defence sector, GINA said.