Business owners angry after flooding
Businesses in the Bull's Head car park area have called on more to be done by the Bermuda Government to maintain the canal that causes flooding when there is a heavy downpour.
Marshall DeCouto, owner of Wise, Body Wellness on Canal Road, said that he had called the Department of Works and Engineering, responsible for the upkeep of the canal, several times throughout the course of a year yet nothing substantial had been done.
Meanwhile, Arthurton Riviere of Bull's Head Car Wash had to deal with flooding from the canal, which sits right alongside his business.
Mr DeCouto told The Royal Gazette: “They just don't clear it.”
Pointing to dead trees and new growth along the side and in the canal itself, he said: “These trees have been in the canal for months. The palm trees are in the water because they collapsed. The landlord has a gardener who cuts down some but technically Works and Engineering is responsible for it. When I call, you get the runaround, they say someone will come and I gave up calling.
“Some of it is from the hurricane but it was already clogged with garbage and vegetation — there is no free flow anymore. The big field by TCD [Transport Control Department]; that is all part of the same thing. The water has nowhere to go.
“It has been a problem for years but now is a good time to highlight that the canals are not maintained and when you get a hurricane it makes it doubly bad because the water cannot drain. They came three or four years ago and did some trenching but it is all about maintenance.
“We can't keep having the roads blocked and people's cars getting messed up driving through the water. You need a system here, albeit it is probably an engineering nightmare to get it to flow.
“Canal drainage affects schools, playfield, businesses, Mills Creek. On a yearly basis, check and dredge rather than just take broken branches away. They are going to have to get mobilised to do something.”
Mr Riviere, co-owner of the family business Bull's Head Car Wash, was dealing with flooding yesterday morning and said it was the worse the business had experienced since he opened it in 2005.
“This has always been a problem here because the canal is right here,” he complained. “We have never had it as bad as this — this is the worse we have had.
“We have pumps here and it pumps out into the sewage system.”
Mr Riviere's daughter, Denise, added: “Whenever the canal overflows we get overflowed. The water came right up to the front door so we had sand bags we were able to put in the machine room but water still came in. The pump would have been flooded so the water came up through the floor drains in the bathroom and flooded the lobby.”
The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to our request for comment regarding the issue of flooding by press time yesterday.
However, in response to ongoing concerns, most recently, in 2015, a Ministry of Public Works spokeswoman noted a that the installation of a sluice gate helped to help prevent flooding, but added: “Government simply does not have the finances to keep the flooding at bay.”
Meanwhile, in St George's numerous boats were damaged in the storm.
Mark Soares, owner of Convict Bay Boatyard, said that while the boats in his yard had fared well, he had seen a fair amount of damage to vessels in the water.
“All our boats are upright and we also fared very well with our moorings but there is obviously some boat damage and tree damage,” he said.
“St George's lost a few boats but it was a tremendous breeze. There are a couple of boats up at Ferry Reach. I can count three that are up on the rocks. One sailboat looks like it went through the swing bridge, lost a mast while going through and then run aground.
“There is a big aluminium boat that was on anchor in St George's Harbour. It went down towards the Corinthian alongside at Marginal Wharf — it looks like it has sunk now and that is a pretty substantial boat, about 80 foot. Just past Mullet Bay there is a boat sunk there and a jet ski that was let go off its mooring.”
Mr Soares said the damage could have been a lot worse in the east end but the wind direction worked in its favour this time around. He said: “Having the wind out of the east followed by wind out of the west was certainly beneficial for us — southerly wind is our worst quadrant so we were pleased to go through the eye and have east and west instead of south. With southerly winds the town square can easily flood.”