Friday, April 12, 2019
By REIL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE keys to the New Providence Landfill officially belong to Providence Advisor Limited.
A handing over ceremony for the facility was held on Friday afternoon.
Millions are expected to be poured into the landfill, now called the New Providence Ecology Park, to address longstanding health and environmental problems that have plagued nearby residents for years.
What was formerly a "free-for-all open space" has already become better secured since operators moved on-site three weeks ago, according to Kenwood Kerr, Chairman of Providence Advisor Limited, a consortium between Providence Advisors and the Waste Resources Development Group.
He said: “We have increased the security and safety of the park by implementing new procedures including but not limited to control site access, 24 hour security patrols, traffic controls, and new driving paths on the site and worker and driver safety protocols. The residential drop-off what you would have seen at the front has been cleaned up and organization is in place. Over-flowing septic have been re-routed and contained in emergency collection pawns on a temporary basis and will transition into permanent sites. Anyone who has been at the site previously can see the tremendous transformation that has taken place in just three short weeks. We are extremely pleased with our progress to date and the work of our team is to be commended.”
The priority is to contain, reduce or alleviate fires, Mr Kerr said. To do this officials will use the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s standard cap and cover method which isolates contaminated materials to ensure the pollution does not spread.
“You would note that we segregated the various types of waste, tyres, metal, plastic and other trash and our first phase of cover and compaction is nearly 80 per cent complete,” the chairman said. “This EPA approved standard of cap and cover significantly reduces the risk of fires and increases the manageability of a fire should one occur. This also improves the health and safety of the park. As we receive waste on a daily basis we cover it with an adequate amount of top soil or cover that way reduce the oxygen content you reduce the gas build up, reduce the opportunity for fires to occur on a daily basis. Through our compaction and cover efforts as much as possible we are using onsite materials, reusing old waste, and storm debris as cover."
Mr Kerr said the operator is preparing scrap metal, tyres and septic emergency management projects. He said 52 Bahamians are currently employed; operators aimed to engage people who previously worked at the site as well as some scrapers who made a living there.
“We are also working with over 20 different vendors from across the community using their equipment and other professional services they provide for the park,” he said.
Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira noted that creating a way forward for the landfill through cooperation with a private operator was of major importance to the government.
“There are three important things that we look for coming out of this process,” he said. “The first obviously is the remediation and improvement of this site that is important in a way that is profitable for both sides and the people. Secondly, it’s the transfer of skills, knowledge, technology, and ability to the Bahamian staff at every level. The most important ingredient in all of this is the betterment of the lives of every single Bahamian that lives on this island and I want you to understand and appreciate that where we stand now is approximately in the centre of New Providence and so this site has the potential to positively or negatively impact every single person in New Providence both residents and visitors alike. Let us not forget what precipitated all of this, let us not forget the fire that forced the evacuations that had a dramatic impact on people’s homes, health and ultimately their lives…what’s happening here today is about human well-being, this is about the people and making a difference in the lives of the people that live around here, the children that go to school here, and the people that work here.”
Providence Advisor Limited was awarded the contract to operate the landfill after a lengthy tendering process that attracted more than a dozen bidders.