Residents and users of the Cinderella Plaza area, including its intersections with Kelly Street and Baymen Avenue, have complained about the condition of the area for months.
Who dropped the ball when it comes to repairing the mess left behind from the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project (FMIP) is debated by the Ministry of Works and the Belize City Council, with each pointing the finger at the other.
The main project players say the Belize City Council is at fault. FMIP Manager, Rolando Chan, told the Reporter this week that he doesn’t understand the confusion or the misinformation coming from Mayor Darrell Bradley, since the allocation of responsibility has been clear throughout the duration of the works.
The $21.5 million FMIP, including drainage and street works, got underway in October 2014, ironically launched at the site of all the current discontent – the Cinderella Plaza. It included the construction of four underground canals leading from key flood prone areas of the city to the sea and Haulover Creek. The streets in the Cinderella Plaza area were torn up to build the concrete underground canals, and residents, businesses and taxi drivers in the affected areas have been patient.
The City Council has maintained that the gutted streets would be fixed by project contractors when the drainage aspect was completed. But that project was completed months ago.
Chan told the Reporter “we finished this project in the first week of August and the Unit sent a specific letter to the Mayor that the City Council can start completing their activity which is doing anything in relation to their infrastructure with Cinderella, Kelly and Baymen.”
But some major wires got crossed somewhere in the $21.5 million, since the Mayor, as recently as last Wednesday, claimed that – “we have a councilor who sits on the steering committee for the Flood Mitigation Project…I am confident and we are pushing them in relation to completing that as soon as possible because it is a major woe for residents. The Cinderella Plaza is a major access way and we need that area to be repaired and fixed.”
So was it miscommunication? Maybe some fine print that someone missed? Chan told the Reporter there’s no confusion at all on the project team’s part – “I know in the news I heard Mayor Bradley mentioning that it is our responsibility. I just want to clarify that it’s the responsibility of the Belize City Council. It doesn’t have anything to do with our project. We have a Memorandum of Understanding where the agreement is only to do the Canal from Freetown towards the sea.”
Back and forth aside, who’s going to fix the Cinderella Plaza, Baymen Avenue and Kelly Street areas torn up for the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project? On Wednesday Bradley wouldn’t admit to any miscommunication or misinformation or disingenuousness. He said only that “the City Council has the legal mandate for street construction and maintenance. That’s by law. This is a City Council street. Ultimately the responsibility is for the City Council.”
Bradley, however, was unable to give a timeline for the works. And with Petrocaribe funds all but done, it seems likely that there will be no relief in the near future.