The first dome housing structure was erected in Spring City, Abaco, over the weekend for a Family Relief Centre, and work is expected to continue through the holiday season, according to Brickell Management contractor Phil Robinson.
In October, Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Committee Chairman John Michael Clarke said the domes will house residents who lost their homes on Abaco during Hurricane Dorian.
While only one has been erected, there are currently 90 domes in Abaco of the 213 domes purchased by the government for $6.4 million.
Robinson added that he intends to have the first 14 domes up by this Friday, and 110 by Christmas.
The remainder, he said, are expected to be up by the end of January.
The company is also tasked with providing infrastructure for running water and sewage at the dome city.
“In Spring City, we had to clear an area. We put foundations in for 40 [domes], we’ve put plumbing in for fresh water, we’ve put sewerage lines in, [and] septic tanks are expected to arrive this week,” Robinson said.
“We’ve put the bases in. The bases are ground-anchored to bedrock. So, they’re not going to move, and we’ve raised the bases by six inches. So, we have no water issues.”
Two months ago, Clarke said the domes were selected for their ability to withstand future storms.
However, the concern of Hurricane Dorian’s sea surges of up to 20 feet has not been addressed.
Clarke added that applications for the domes can be made through the Department of Social Services.
“As you know, on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, the Ministry of Works and the Department of Social Services and the port authority in Grand Bahama would have done assessments,” he said.
“Based on the information I looked at last evening, the assessments in Abaco are still ongoing.
“So, what is going to happen is the Ministry of Works and the Department of Social Services will determine the priority of who gets domes in various areas based on the criteria and vulnerabilities.”
Clarke said there’s currently a preliminary list that is being vetted.
He said, “We will be meeting with the Department of Social Services this week with the view of once the contractor has the domes erected, we can begin what we intended to do, and that is to bring persons back on the island of Abaco, repairing their properties, and living in a comfortable space.”
Asked if the domes will be free of charge, Clarke said those details have not been ironed out as yet.
“When we decided on the original protocols, it was decided that these were going to be temporary shelters,” he said.
“Originally, temporary in our minds was between zero and 24 months.
“What happens in that period of time, to be honest we’re still working out some of the protocols – whether the entire length of stay will be free.
“At some point, you would have heard that there was going to be a charge. None of those things, as a matter of policy, have been confirmed. But prior to anyone taking up residence in any of the temporary shelters, all of those details will be ironed out.”