Repair work at Chinese housing project

A Chinese construction company has begun fixing structural problems at homes in the Mt Gay Housing Development.

The team, from Beijing Construction Company, arrived on site last week and they are expected to spend about one month dealing with the severe problems that have, in some cases, affected the quality of life of home occupants.

The government of China built and donated the homes to the people of Grenada, several years ago, with sites at Mt Gay and Frequente in St George’s and Soubise in St Andrew.

For years the residents at all three sites have been plagued by problems arising from poor construction and improper sewer systems.

Some of the more serious problems at the Mt Gay site include cracking walls and major plumbing leaks.

Chinese representatives have said they will attempt to fix all the problems and this week the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) was scheduled to come in with special testing equipment to identify broken pipes so that repairs can be undertaken.

The Soubise residents are also facing plumbing issues as pipes contained within walls have been breaking, resulting in the constant flow of water through the porous walls.

According to an official of the Chinese Embassy in St George’s, the type of material used for the walls is meant to be used in areas of Northern China where it hardly rains.

This has proved unsuitable for Grenada which has an official rainy season. So far, the small team of Chinese workers have been engaged in less critical work, such as scraping of interior walls and reapplying wall treatments.

Rusted railings on upper floors are also expected to get attention as some are close to breaking, which could result in catastrophic events for residents at the apartment units.

The housing developments contain three types of homes, including townhouses and duplex units, with about three hundred units at the Mt Gay site.

The problems began occurring shortly after the Mt Gay facility was settled about five years but the Housing Authority of Grenada, which manages the housing scheme had done nothing to address them.

After reports of the problems were published in this newspaper, the Housing Authority met with residents earlier this year and informed them that the Chinese company had agreed to do repairs.

Building experts have said that to properly refurbish the homes it would cost close to $1-million in material and Labour, money which the HAG cannot afford to spend.

Many of the units have been rented to low-income tenants and many are in arrears.

Currently, other housing schemes are being built in St David, St Mark and Carriacou and a sod-turning ceremony was held Wednesday at Beausejour for more low-income homes.

Minister for Housing Delma Thomas has said the new projects would be better constructed by the Chinese.

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