Earlier in the week, we reported on the residents in downtown Belize City who are being terribly inconvenienced with the awful stench coming from the nearby canals. The situation was reportedly caused by the canals being dammed by the Ministry of Work as a part of the Climate Vulnerability Reduction Program. Following many complaints from the residents in the affected areas, the Belize City Council issued a letter to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing demanding answers on the sluggish process. Yesterday, Max Solis, the Technical Specialist of the program, gave an update on its progress.
Max Solis, Technical Specialist, CVRP: “We are working basically on three projects. First was the draining restoration of the entire Orange Street and simultaneously we were doing the dredging of the East Canal, West Canal and Collet Canal that was Lot One project. Actually we are finishing the Lot Two project. It consists of the construction of the sluice gates and basically what we have now is we are finishing the civil works and then we will start to install the electromechanical components to raise the sluice gates. This is part of an entire concept that consists of three sluice gates and one pumping station that will be located at the end of the Collet Canal beside the Yabra Bridge. So this week we are starting with that project, that’s part of the continuous improving of the canals and the drainage system of Belize City to improve the flooding of the city.”
As it relates to the letter from City Hall, Solis says the damming was necessary to install the sluice gates. He noted that the affected areas have since been cleared out.
Max Solis, Technical Specialist, CVRP: “Since a week ago we were removing all the clay damns that we were having at every location of the sluice gates. It was necessary to dam it during this summer season before the starting of the rainy season and the hurricane season because we are working under sea level so to build these sluice gates, the foundations, it is necessary to do a clay dam at small sections in this case for sluice gate number three between the West Reagent Street Bridge and the Waterlane Bridge. So we were isolating this small section of East Canal putting some clay dams and then the water works to down the level of the water and then start the concrete works for the foundation of the sluice gates.”
Reporter: But now you all have removed those dams?
Max Solis, Technical Specialist, CVRP: “Everything is already moved since more than ten days ago.”
Reporter: And the water is flowing ?
Max Solis, Technical Specialist, CVRP: “And the water is flowing continuously but we are manually removing now the sluice gates during the high tide and the low tide daily because we’re the process of finishing all the electromechanical components needed to lift the sluice gates at every location so the work is in process yet.”
The Climate Vulnerability Reduction Program started in 2017 and according to Solis if the project continues at its expected pace, completion is scheduled for June 2022.