Golden Beach Boulevard BARTICA – the capital town located in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni District (Region Seven) – is well on its way to becoming the country’s first Green Model Town in keeping with a vision of His Excellency, President David Granger.
“The transformation is evident,” the Mayor of Bartica, Gifford Marshall said as he alluded to the fact the town has made gigantic steps in the areas of solid waste management, environmental protection, energy conservation and the use of renewable and reliable sources of energy. At the time, he was being interviewed on Guyana Chronicle’s online programme called ‘Vantage Point.’
The West Indian Housing Scheme Green Park “It was important for us to have open spaces, and open spaces, of course, have a number of benefits, and also they contribute significantly to raising the value of properties; so we would have constructed the West Indian Housing Scheme Green Park,” the Mayor explained while adding that the green park not only attracts residents but visitors and tourists from across the country, and world at large.
The West Indian Housing Scheme Green Park, constructed at a cost of $31M with the support of the Government, is powered by solar energy and features a three-tier fountain. It also consists of a playground with walkways, benches, benabs, arched (kissing) bridges, and a green space for trees. The fountain’s water is sourced from a natural freshwater spring that was found at the backlands. It is at Green Park that residents and tourists alike, hold their barbeques, receptions, weddings, anniversary celebrations and other public events.
Trees being planted in Bartica as part of its Green Initiative The Green Park in the West Indian Housing Scheme was among the first set of beautification initiatives taken by the Mayor and Town Council of Bartica. The Water Front Project, which comprises of the Golden Beach Boulevard, is another such initiative undertaken to boost the town’s tourism potential. The Golden Beach Boulevard was commissioned in 2018. It comprises of a walkway, mini-marts and lights powered by PV panel. It has recently, intensified its tree-planting programme.
In addition to beautifying the town’s surroundings, the Mayor said the Town Council has been working with the Ministry of Communities, Ministry of Natural Resources, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to minimize the damages done to the environment as a result to mining activities done in and around Bartica.
LED lights being installed along the streets of Bartica “Most of the residents depend heavily on the Mining Industry, so we had to create a balance because here you are talking about greening but also about mining, and mining has a significant impact, negative of course on the environment. We would have seen the pollution of our rivers, we would have seen the deforestation and the large ponds that would be left, and if those areas are not managed properly…it could affect the environment. So we have been working with the authorities to minimize the negative impacts,” Marshall explained.
In the areas of energy conservation and renewable and reliable energy supply, the Mayor pointed out that approximately 96 per cent of the town’s street lights are Light Emitted Diode (LED).
“Bartica was a very dark town because when it came to street lighting, only five percent of the town was covered, and now we have in excess of 95 per cent of the town covered, so that’s a major plus,” he said.
Added to that, solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed in a majority of the municipality buildings. “We would have started last year, or sometime in 2017 to ensure that the municipal buildings, first of all, are equipped with PV panels. This, of course, would reduce significantly, our light bill, so it is an economic project in terms of reducing electricity cost, and also it’s a project in which, we will contribute towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuel,” Marshall explained. He noted that the Bartica Town Hall, the Bartica Community Centre, the Green Park, Bartica Municipal Market and the Bartica Police Station are among facilities being powered by solar energy.
The Bartica Municipal Market Importantly too, the Council with tremendous support from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has been able to arrest the power supply issues that were plaguing the town, while simultaneously reducing the impact the use of fossil fuel has on the environment. Earlier this year, the Government through the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL), completed the construction of an $800M Power Plant at Dogg Point, Bartica.
The $800Million power station is sufficiently powered by three 1.1 megawatt high-speed diesel engines, which have a total output of 3.3 megawatts of electricity. This is expected to meet the demand of the residents of Bartica.
Inside of the Bartica Municipal Market Marshall was in high praises of the Government, noting that not only were Barticians faced with frequent power outages, but their environments were also severely affected particularly those residing and operating along First Avenue where the old power station was located.
“Where GPL was located, it was right next to our market and those engines were probably older than my grandparents, and when the engines came on, there were these thick suds that would go to the market; the drains around the market and the power company were thick with oil and so, so it was pollutant and it was something that we worried a lot,” he told this newspaper.
But while the town has been gifted with a new power station, the Mayor said the town is still forging ahead with its plans to depend heavily on renewable sources of energy. “Though we have a brand new facility, our objectives remain the same, we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel because of course, when we use a lot of fossil fuel that of course impact our environment, our quality of air which leads to climate,” he explained.
The renovation of the Bartica Municipal Market was among other projects down under the watch of Marshall and his team of councillors at the council.
LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle