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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Apr 11, 2017 - 9:55:30 AM

Darville Gives Update on Government Projects in West Grand Bahama
By Andrew Coakley
Apr 11, 2017 - 9:38:18 AM

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MINISTER AND DEPARTMENT HEADS – Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. Michael Darville (centre left) stands with Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Grand Bahama, Melvin Seymour (centre right) and Government Department Heads in front of one of the government-built homes in Bahamia. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

West Grand Bahama, The Bahamas - With over $100 Million spent on infrastructural works on Grand Bahama, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville toured many of those projects in the West, to show Government Heads of Departments the progress of such works.

After touring Government projects in East Grand Bahama at the end of March, Dr. Darville, led an entourage to West Grand Bahama on Friday, April 7, 2017 to get a view of the projects taking place, which are expected to greatly enhance the lives of residents in West Grand Bahama.

ON SCHOOL SITE – The Tour of projects in West Grand Bahama made a stop at the construction site of the new Holmes Rock Junior High School. While on the site, the Minister, along with Permanent Secretary Melvin Seymour (right) and Ministry of Works Head Toni Hudson (next to Minister), chat with Contractors of the project, Lloyd Rolle and Hilton Bowleg. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

According to Dr. Darville, the projects are in keeping with the Government's fiscally sound policies, simultaneously honouring a commitment to advance the infrastructure and stimulate the economy of Grand Bahama.

The Western Tour started at the site of a unique Government Housing project that comprises middle class homes -- unique in that they are being constructed in one of the upscale communities of Grand Bahama - Bahamia West Replat.

Said the Minister: “This housing project came about during an historic Cabinet meeting here on the island of Grand Bahama, when the Housing Minister and I announced finalization of contracts for the construction of 39 homes on the island.” The contracts were awarded to 12 local contractors with combined value awarded totalling approximately $4 million.

BUSY WORKERS – Work at the site of the Fishing Hole Bridge is moving along steadily and workers were busy on Friday, April 7, 2016 when the Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville led an entourage of Government Department Heads on a tour of projects taking place in West Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

From the Housing project, the Minister and his entourage travelled through Hawksbill near the National Emergency Management Agency to show off one of 21 'E-Noses' erected in the Industrial Communities. The sophisticated air quality sensors were part of recommendations made by the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization following a study on the effects of industrial plants within nearby neighborhoods.

“PAHO/WHO were contracted by the Government of The Bahamas to complete an Environment and Health Risk Assessment of Lewis Yard, Pinder's Point and the surrounding settlements to determine, if any, the effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals to the environment and health of individuals in the residential areas,” explained Dr. Darville.

“The study was concluded in December 2015 and after years of speculation, it has been scientifically proven by this independent assessment that there are no environmental and health risk factors associated with living in close proximity to the industrial companies.”

The cost of the 21 E-Noses includes $125,400 (for equipment), $22,000 (for software) and $3,600 (for yearly SIM Card payment).

THIS IS THE WAITING ROOM – Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama stands in the waiting room of the newly-built West End Community Clinic, during a tour of the facility on Friday, April 7, 2016. The Minister said the clinic will be a state-of-the-art medical facility that will greatly benefit the residents of West End. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

One of the crowning jewels in Dr. Darville's Grand Bahama infrastructural projects is the Fishing Hole Causeway, better known as the Fishing Hole Bridge. It's a contract that was awarded to ABC Construction at a cost of $6.2 million, with some added contingencies.

“I'm pleased to report that this project is moving on target, after being delayed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016,” said Minister Darville. “The bulk of all the pilings are on island and very shortly the contractor will begin to construct the bridge once they are finished with the ramp.

“The bridge itself will be about 900 feet long and will pass the complete Hawksbill Creek and will be somewhere between 12-14 feet in height. We conducted a study and it indicated from our Coastal Engineers that in the event of a category five storm, with surge coming in from the north, we can expect that surge to be about 10 feet. That means we will have clearance of some four feet.”

Minister Darville said that residents should begin to see the physical construction of the bridge going up within two to three weeks. Contractors are hoping to have the bridge completed in August of this year, but that projection is based on whether or not Grand Bahama is hit with a storm during the upcoming Hurricane season.

THIS GOES HERE – Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama proves his knowledge of Engineering after he explained to the media and Government Department Heads how the pieces of the new bridge at the Fishing Hole Road will be constructed. Looking on is Contractor for the project Wolfgang Geiger of ABC Construction. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

The West Grand Bahama Projects Tour ended with a stop at the site of the new Holmes Rock School and the West End Clinic.

“On September 8, 2016, the Government signed two contracts totaling $11 million to build the new Holmes Rock Junior High School,” explained Dr. Darville. “The school is expected to be a replica of the Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School in Freeport.

“The school is also envisioned as the nucleus of future new subdivisions in the Holmes Rock area. The government purchased nine acres of land for the school site and an additional 10 acres for the school's sporting activities.”

The contracts were awarded to Brickhouse Construction, a firm headed by Lloyd Rolle, and RCL Construction, headed by West End native, Hilton Bowleg.

TALK ABOUT E-NOSE – Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama explains to the media and Government Heads of Departments how the sophisticated monitoring piece of equipment like the E-Nose works. Minister Darville said that some 21 E-Noses have been erected on utility poles throughout the communities like Lewis Yard, Pinder’s Point, Hunter’s and other such communities within the Industrial parks. The E-Noses monitor the quality of air within these communities, as well as monitor the emissions from the Industrial Plants. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

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