The owner and operator of ‘Kids are Wonderful Pre-school and Daycare Centre,’ which is located opposite the site where the new Silver Sands hotel is being constructed, is once again faced with a very challenging period, due to what appears to be preparatory works for the construction of a building close to the main road directly in front of her property.
According to property owner, Michelle Gilbert, the area has been cleared of all vegetation and dump trucks have been observed piling dust on the site.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Gilbert said, she is significantly challenged in maintaining a clean home for herself and her family, as well as a clean environment for the approximately 80 children catered for on a daily basis.
“We are having a problem with the dust. It’s a lot of dust, we can’t clean – we have to be locked up inside (and) they wouldn’t even stop when the children and (their) parents are passing – the trucks will still hoist their backs to let of the tiff (soil) they are dumping and it affects us really bad,” she remarked.
“Inside the house, upstairs is filled with dust, the counter, washing machine, printer, everywhere is just dust,” she charged, noting that “they (the construction workers) are not wetting it (the tiff) as often as we would like them to wet it”.
“I see them (workers) wet at least once a day, but it’s so dry now the wetting is not sufficient,” she added.
When construction commenced on the Silver Sands project back in 2015, concerns were raised as to the impact it would have on the nearby school.
In response, the project developers erected a dust protection screen as a mitigation measure.
Speculation is rife that the property in front of Gilbert’s which appears to be in the process of being back-filled, is also associated with the multi-million dollar Silver Sands hotel project.
Gilbert told this newspaper that “the project manager (of the new Silver Sands hotel)” had informed her on a visit to the home that “they had brought the property and they would be doing some work so I should expect heavy machinery and stuff like that.
She said: “They wanted to give me an hour of peace in the morning and an hour every evening and I said no, that is not good enough for me. I told them if you are giving me two hours give me from 12.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. because that is the nap time for the children”.
According to law, in order for construction to take place on any site in the country, approval must be sought from the Physical Planning Unit (PPU).
When contacted by THE NEW TODAY, PPU Head, Fabian Purcell indicated that “the Unit did not receive an application” for construction on the site in question.
“I am not aware of that,” he said.
Purcell gave no information on whether the unit will look into the matter with a view to taking action.
The Silver Sands project was officially launched in January 2015, approximately three months before receiving approval by the Planning and Development Authority Board on April 30, 2015.
This project is also running well past the announced 18-month stipulated completion date.
As part of the project, a drain was constructed to allow for a filter system for the flow of flood water from surrounding communities into the sea.
Gilbert said this drain, which is located on the opposite side of her property is posing serious health challenges for not only her and her family, but also the staff and the children in their care at the centre.
“We also have problems with mosquitoes because the drain that they built is holding water instead of letting the water out. So we need the Ministry of Health to address that situation,” she added.
Additionally, she expressed concern that during construction of the drain, the “10 foot allowed road,” providing “access to the property at the back” was cut almost in half.
“This is a 10-feet allowed road to the property at the back but when they were doing the drain, the same drain that contains all the water, they came into the road a bit and to me it doesn’t seem as though the road is 10 feet anymore,” she said.
The road also serves as an access point for locals to the beach.
The businesswoman also expressed concern about damage done to her wall fence, which was erected well within her boundary along the side of the road.
“Since the wall was built everything was fine and then approximately two months ago my son told me the wall is shaking and I want to believe it is because one of the trucks (drivers) hit it while reversing,” she said.
Gilbert pointed out that to date “no one (has) claimed responsibility” for the damage done to the wall.
“No one came to me,” she said, while indicating that she “sent a letter to the project manager,” who responded by sending “two persons to look at it,”
“I heard nothing after that,” she declared.