The water main installation at Prince Charles Drive is necessary to enhance the delivery of water supply to eastern New Providence. Erratic pressure and rusty water are nuisances in the densely populated east.
The government is laying a 24-inch water main down Prince Charles Drive in an effort to fix some of the water problems easterners face. The work is necessary and residents must accept that some reasonable discomfort will occur for a period in order to bring about the change desired.
The problem the government faces when it comes to this work is the same problem it faced at Balliou Hill Road and Market Street. Business owners are arguing that the roadworks will significantly harm their businesses.
In December, Supreme Court Justice Neville Adderley awarded yet to be determined damages to the Coconut Grove Business League for losses suffered by the businesses due to the roadworks in that area.
He ruled that the government did not adequately consult with area stakeholders.
The government has tried to do better since Adderley’s ruling. It has met with stakeholders to be affected by the second phase of the Balliou Hill Road-Market Street work.
The new dispute on Prince Charles Drive between business owners and the government should have been expected and it still can be worked out. What the government must accept is that it does not have the right to force roadwork on a community in any manner it deems appropriate.
The business owners reject the government’s effort to close the road for the work to be done. Some businesses would close down if they are denied access to operating revenue for an extended period.
Consultation means that there is dialogue geared at coming to solutions that allow the work to occur and businesses to survive.
Dialogue is needed between the government and these businesses to find solutions to keep a part of the road open. If for a time the road must be closed, that work should be done as quickly as possible. This may mean working 24-hours a day to ensure things get back to normal quickly.
The business owners should be commended for vocally expressing their concerns. Those in the Coconut Grove area too should be commended for having the courage to petition the court for relief.
The government must remember it is the servant of the people. It must continue to listen to, and work with, the people of Prince Charles Drive.