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Hazardous walls and buildings identified for demolition

Sen Cox - gave assurance that the dangerous retaining wall in Hope will be demolished

Plans are in motion to demolish several dangerous walls and buildings throughout the island, including what’s left of a 40 foot retaining wall overlooking the frequently commuted public road in Hope, St. Andrew, which collapsed on November 5, 2015, killing Blaize resident, Sherma Thomas on her 43rd birthday.

The well-known Grenville market vendor was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle that was travelling en route to St. George’s, when a sizable portion of the retaining wall collapsed, crushing her to death, pinning the entire left side of the vehicle to the ground.

Surviving the incident was her 16-year old daughter, her 4-year-old son and the 74-year old driver, who were all treated for minor injuries at the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau.

Approximately five years and one month after the fatality, the remaining portion of the wall continues to pose significant threat to the motoring public and pedestrians alike.

THE NEW TODAY has observed the placing of a notice on the site, which reads: “Danger beware this wall is seriously detrimental to road users and the general public”.

In an effort to obtain government’s plan for the area, the newly appointed Infrastructure Minister, Senator Norland Cox, was contacted by this newspaper on Monday and he indicated that his ministry is currently in the process of identifying hazardous infrastructure for demolition to ensure the safety of road users.

Minister Cox gave assurance that the retaining wall that claimed the life of the 43-year old mother of eight (8), will be included on the list.

However, he explained that there is a process that must be followed before the actual demolition phase can begin.

“There are a number of critical walls and buildings that are hazardous…we are actually working on that right now; We have to go through (the ministries of) Physical Planning and Legal Affairs (who) will find the owners, serve them notice and then if nobody responds (within the allotted timeline according to law, the Ministry of) Physical Planning would then give that go ahead (to demolish the structures) and in some cases where (The Ministry of) Health is required, they would also give the go ahead before infrastructure can act,” he said.

“We are also looking into the removal of a building in St. Mark, a bus shed in Laura (St. David) and a couple of other walls in (the communities of) Gouyave, (St. John) and Munich, (in St. Andrew),” he added.

Sen. Cox was not in a position to say exactly when the actual demolition will take place.

However, he hinted that it could possibly be a long drawn out process considering the various ministries involved and the task to locate and notify individuals, where applicable.

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