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Work starts to clear flood risk canal

Phyllis Jeffers shared safety concerns surrounding flooding near her residence (File photograph)

The public works ministry has confirmed work has started to clear flood-prone canals.

The news came after the The Royal Gazette last week highlighted the plight of an elderly man, Francis Jeffers, whose caregiver could not get to his house because of flooding from the canal in the Mill Creek Road, Pembroke, area after heavy rain earlier this month.

A Ministry of Public Works spokesman said: ”Crews are engaged in clearing the canals as part of the ongoing stimulus works.“

The spokesman added that businesses in the area had been contacted to help find a solution to the area’s flooding.

He said: “The private development in this area has contributed to the increased risk of flooding.

“The ministry is co-ordinating the effort to find a solution which depends on public/private co-operation.”

Mr Jeffers, 75, has multiple sclerosis and is unable to walk.

His wife Phyllis, 74, said the caregiver managed to get to the house down nearby Travellers Lane the next day.

But she feared that emergency vehicles would be unable to use that route because it was narrow and in a state of disrepair.

The public works ministry declined to say if it was aware of the Jeffers’ problems and was unable to give a date for completion of the work.

The ministry allocated $200,000 in the 2021-22 Budget to deal with flooding problems in Pembroke.

Regular cleaning and maintenance in the canal area, as well as valve and grate upgrades, were announced in April.

A ministry spokesman said at the time the work would “reduce the occurrence of floods”.

Businesses and area residents have complained about the flooding in the area for years and a campaign group was formed in 2015.

Shawn Gravito, a spokesman for the landowners on Mill Creek Road, said flooding had become worse in recent years because of high tides and heavy rainfall.

He added that landowners and the Government had been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as by recent high tides.

Mr Gravito said: “This issue has plagued Bermuda for 20 years.

“Government has been proactive lately and has had contractors in, but with all the high tides and rain it has delayed further works up until this point.

“We have, as a core group of landlords, been working with Government to figure out resolutions – one of those resolutions is potentially raising Mill Creek Road itself.

“We have worked with contractors. We are awaiting on a meeting with engineers and will present it to Government.”

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Published November 24, 2021 at 7:48 am (Updated November 23, 2021 at 11:17 pm)

Work starts to clear flood risk canal

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