|‘Mutual understanding’ reached on road works compensation|
Royston Jones Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jul 28, 2012
The government and the Coconut Grove Business League (CGBL) have come to a “mutual understanding” on the relief plan for business owners who were affected by the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis.
“I met with business persons affected and we are working together, and we have a mutual understanding that we will work towards bringing relief to them,” Davis told The Nassau Guardian.
“This was around a week ago and I spoke with...representatives of the business owners.”
CGBL, a group of almost 50 businesses in the southern area of Blue Hill Road and Market Street, said the meeting was “frank and spirited” and all left with a commitment to work in partnership for a resolution relating to the traffic schemes on several thoroughfares, including Blue Hill Road and Market Street.
The group, which lost its legal bid for compensation from the former government last year, has argued that the road changes caused a significant reduction in business, causing hundreds of jobs to be lost, and scores of businesses to fold.
“On the issue of compensation, there was significant progress which, if used as the basis for a final solution should find strong support among all affected by the road works,” the CGBL said in a statement issued this week.
“There were significant and workable proposals for dealing with costs associated with what might be involved with turning Blue Hill Road, Market Street, Robinson Road west and the affected side streets back to two-way traffic.”
Before the former government left office, it said two business owners received about $7,000 each following a door-to-door survey of many businesses affected.
However, at the time, the group criticized the survey as nothing more than a “political game” it was not interested in playing.
Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said recently that while some people may receive cash grants, not all business owners will get money.
Road project delayed
On Wednesday, Davis told Parliament that the project was now expected to continue beyond November and possibly into 2013.
Last week, Davis said he expected the road works to be complete by October 31.
“Members opposite, and particularly the member for Central Grand Bahama (Neko Grant) will recall instructions to the contractor to delay scheduled works on Wulff Road and Village Road or Corridor 16 from March 31 to May 14, 2012, causing a delay of some six weeks,” Davis said.
“Further, the contractor was instructed to ensure that all roads were open to vehicular usage for two weeks prior to the elections and one week thereafter.
“These instructions, understandably, negatively impacted the planned completion at the end of October.”