A WEEK AGO, residents of Andrews Lane in Mausica were dealing with raging fires and thick black smoke at a landfill operation that’s been undertaken in their area. At issue is a development site that is steadily being backfilled in preparation for future construction. The project is being undertaken over an extended period as the developer seeks to fill a gully with a mixture of dirt, concrete, and other construction debris.
This is a normal method of grading land and some developers let it be known that suitable scrap and excavation from other building sites can be dumped at their location. That message seems to have gone to a wider circle of participants and the site has become an unofficial dump ground as citizens seek to help the development along by tipping their garbage into the gully.
Old mattresses, wood and old car seats probably don’t constitute proper fill materials for what is likely to become a site of housing construction, but what has also happened is that scavengers have been drawn to the rubbish. The fires are believed to be the result of blazes to salvage metal from the garbage that’s being dumped on the backfill site.
Andrews Lane has become an unofficial waste dump, and the toxic smoke is affecting residents while the uncontrolled fires threaten their property. This is, according to Act No 10 of 2014, which governs Town and Country Planning, an engineering operation undertaken by a contractor and its execution for purpose is a formal development initiative that’s subject to review by the chief building officer.
A backfill operation that’s being so cavalierly overseen should probably attract some attention from Town and Country Planning, since an engineer’s perspective on what this gully is being filled with will have some relevance to what’s going to be built on top of it. Residents have apparently notified the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation about the aspect of the situation that’s affecting their lives and has been continuing without significant intervention for months.
According to councillor for La Florissante/Cleaver Judy Garner, the corporation’s CEO has instructed its public health officer, building inspector and engineer to investigate the issue. Their evaluation should consider not only the present circumstances of the development, which is a hazard to residents of Andrews Lane, but the future disposition of the project, which may already be compromised with the addition of unsuitable base materials to the backfilling operation that’s in progress.
Clearly the local government and planning authorities have a more focused role to play in regulating and overseeing a development site that’s devolving into a health and safety hazard for the situation in Mausica.