The government is awaiting the approval of more money to fund the proper removal of asbestos from the Clarence A. Bain Building, after approvals and the green light were already issued to demolish the former Road Traffic building, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister told Guardian Business yesterday.
Bannister said teams that began working on the building found the cancer-causing asbestos and sought out the help of the government to properly clear the building of the material before completing demolition. The site has been fenced off and visibly gutted already.
The Clarence A. Bain Building was once being considered for repurposing as a dormitory for the University of The Bahamas, before it was discovered that the building was no longer structurally sound and it was consequentially condemned.
Bannister said he could not put a timeline on when the asbestos removal will begin and when the building will finally see its last days.
Asbestos has been pegged as a dangerous material and is banned in many countries. It is not banned in The Bahamas.
According to asbestos.com: “Over decades, trapped asbestos fibers can cause inflammation, scarring and eventually genetic damage to the body’s cells. A rare and aggressive cancer called mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos also causes other forms of cancer as well as progressive lung disease.”
Bannister said Cabinet will need to decide on the funding for the asbestos removal before completing the demolition of the building.
He added that the government continues to look at a number of proposals for the demolition of the former General Post Office.
The site of the building was being considered for the new Central Bank building, before the area across the street, Royal Victoria Gardens, was chosen.
Bannister could not give much details about what the plan is for the old post office. He said the government is still in the decision making process with regard to the building.