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Family who used Abaco dome as restaurant say they won’t do it again

Bradley Fox and his mother, Gardenia Fox, lost their home in Spring City, Abaco, during Hurricane Dorian eight months ago.

In order to raise funds for reconstruction efforts, they decided to sell tacos from a dome that she is occupying.

A photo advertising the business was widely shared on social media last week, with some individuals criticizing the move.

“I think that there was this sentiment that this dome was strictly for restaurant use, that we were just taking it and trying to turn it into a restaurant, which is completely wrong,” Fox told The Nassau Guardian.

“My mom had every intention of trying to furnish this dome and being close to her home now that it’s being repaired. We do understand that there are health hazards, safety hazards that could come out [of] this. But when I put out a lunch special flyer Tuesday, it said one day in Spring City.”

He added, “We’re not saying that we’re opened for business, come here and get food.”

Fox said his mother has been cooking as a “way of making money for herself” since Dorian — the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas.

“She’s trying to get her home rebuilt in Spring City,” he said.

“Even just being the hustler that she is, she started cooking in Sandy Point and selling food. There [are] no jobs you could do right now.”

He said his mother has not been asked to vacate the facility.

Fox said they “most certainly” have no intention of using the dome as a restaurant in the future.

On Wednesday, Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Managing Director Katherine Forbes-Smith said the authority was investigating the “unacceptable” incident.

“Every homeowner was given a set of rules, which had to be signed prior to taking possession of the temporary structure,” she said.

“Those rules addressed how residents are expected to conduct themselves. It is very sad that one would attempt to use a dome for commercial purposes, which is not just wrong but insensitive to other homeowners in need of temporary housing. Further, these structures are intended for temporary living hence any commercial venture would pose a safety issue.”

Forbes-Smith said the authority planned to “remedy this situation immediately”.

The DRA amended the occupancy rules for the domes as a result of the incident.

It added that “no temporary residential structure can be used for commercial purposes”.

In the immediate aftermath of Dorian, which left thousands homeless on Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the government would erect domes as temporary housing for Abaco storm victims.

On March 5, Brickell Management contractor Phil Robinson said 32 of the domes had been completed.

Fox told The Guardian that his mother received the keys to a dome on April 2.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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