Concerned stakeholders updated on flood free Victoria project |29 April 2022
Stakeholders concerned and involved in the flood free Victoria project, yesterday afternoon attended a follow-up meeting at State House chaired by President Wavel Ramkalawan to evaluate and assess the plan discussed and presented last month.
Organised by the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA) the meeting brought together all stakeholders and agencies which provide technical support to government.
Keith Arnephie, director general of the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency, made a review of completed projects, ongoing and pending ones.
“Following the extreme rainfall and severe flooding event of Friday March 11, site visits were conducted on March 15 by various stakeholders and agencies. The first stakeholders’ meeting was held on March 24 and was also chaired by President Ramkalawan and we agreed on a list of remedial actions for each one of us to work on. And today we are meeting again to review the progress on these actions,” Mr Arnephie explained.
He pointed out that it was decided to have an immediate clearing of all waterways/channels from debris and other obstructions causing blockages; de-silting of most affected rivers and channels; clearing of overgrown vegetation from waterways; demolition of redundant utilities structures blocking waterways and reducing water flow; construction of walls to stabilise the Rochon river bank and minimise flooding along the lowest section of the river; raising of edges of rivers/channel walls where possible; and cleaning illegal dumping area at Corgat Estate to remove eyesores.
Other miscellaneous required actions were the construction of a boundary wall along the Mont Fleuri cemetery to restrict access and help eliminate illegal activities happening in the area and also to prevent dumping of waste into the river.
They also had to construct embarkment walls along the river crossing the cemetery to prevent further soil erosion and land loss in the cemetery. This has been a cause of concern with the recent increase in heavy rains.
Status of actions
The various agencies were able to clean the eyesore/illegal dumping area at Corgat Estate and tons of waste and other debris were collected and disposed off from the site.
The SIA provided the design and estimated cost for the following activities: construction of plum concrete retaining wall along the Rochon river; construction of stone concrete retaining wall and rock packing along the Rochon river; construction of boundary wall along the Rochon river; construction of parapet rail at the Victoria Gymnasium car park to raise the level of river edge wall; construction of boundary wall at the Mont Fleuri cemetery; drainage improvement at the Mont Fleuri cemetery and ownership identification of property to initiate negotiations for possible channel widening at Mont Fleuri near the Ministry of Education headquarters.
The Public Utilities Corporation (PUC ‒ Electricity) completed the removal of the blockwork column/pillar supporting electrical conduit at the pedestrian bridge near the police headquarters. The PUC (water) still has to assess the possibility of realigning the water pipe under the concrete bridge, access to the police headquarters.
The Seychelles Planning Authority’s utilities sub-committee had to liaise with utilities and telecom companies for the relocation, removal and reorganisation of utilities facilities from rivers, culvert and channels.
Stakeholders also learned that meetings and site visits with the utilities and telecom providers were conducted and pending confirmation of utilities ownership, they will continue with the process.
The SIA shared the pending tasks, one of which was to define the responsibility for maintenance and management of all waterways; ideally to be assigned to only one entity. After the discussion with all the stakeholders, President Ramkalawan announced that it will be the Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA) which will be responsible for this.
Other pending tasks include – a well established coordination system, for fast response teams/standby cleaning contractors; markings at the rivers to indicate level of accumulated sand for preventive de-silting measures; a comprehensive assessment of all utility services within Victoria and neighbouring districts and proposing effective measures; relocation of utilities and telecom cables to reduce obstruction where possible; sensitisation campaigns to educate against improper waste disposal, and increasing enforcement of non-compliance; improvement of Mont Fleuri bridge by the Seychelles Land Transport Agency (SLTA) and yearly budget provision for de-silting and maintenance of waterways.
The upcoming projects will go through the tender process and the stakeholders were able to share their findings and concerns with the President and they are all set to tackle these issues with the help of the community.