WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20: Regular flooding in a Pembroke commercial area will only be solved by expensive pipe-laying, a businessman said yesterday.
David Swift, of the Pembroke Paint Company, spoke to us after parts of the parish’s Bakery Lane were under three feet of water following heavy rain on Friday.
Mr Swift and other local businesses said the flooding — which happens three of four times a year — costs them money because it denies customers’ access.
Mr Swift said: “Where we are is the lowest point and it acts like a big dish – the water collects here. It shuts us down. We have another entrance on the other side, but it’s not enough.”
He added his firm maintained a drainage pit and a pump to remove flood water — but that it could take up to 24 hours after heavy rain stopped to clear the lane.
He said the only solution would be to lay a new pipe and pump water into the nearby Mills Creek or to Harrington Sound.
But he added: “It would be a long pipe and expensive — nobody’s going to pay for it.”
Mr Swift said the lane was a private road, owned by the businesses lining it, so Government had no responsibility to deal with flooding problems.
He added: “We have been to Government over the last 20 or 30 years – Works & Engineering helped build the pump, but since then successive Governments, UBP and PLP, have washed their hands of the problem.”
Mr Swift said: “Government has bigger priorities than this road.”
Carolina Arce, a manager at restaurant Buzz, said the flooding had forced the business to close early.
She said: “We even had a guy come in by boat to get something to eat. Whenever it rains, we have a problem, but I haven’t seen it so bad for a while.”
But she added: “We lost half of our business, which is quite a lot of money.”
Ms Arce added: “Even when it only rains a little bit, there’s some flooding. I don’t know much about these things, but maybe they need to dig deeper in the drains we already have.”
Sharon Davis, vice-president of car company Rayclan, said the firm had built up and away from the road decades ago because of the risk of flooding, which meant they were able to continue operating.
She added: “It’s nothing new for us — this area has always flooded. This is all low-lying property, marshland.
“It’s a problem, it’s been a problem and I really can’t see what can be done unless they dam the creek up. There’s no quick fix — I don’t think it’s feasible, although I wouldn’t say it’s not possible. We need the creek, so we have to learn to adapt.”
John Stephens, of Bermuda BluePrinting, said his firm’s location at the higher end of the lane near Serpentine Road meant it was unaffected by the water, which pooled in the lower middle section.
He added: “It’s water run-off that causes the problem — it was three feet deep at one point on Friday. I’m not sure what could be done, except a huge holding tank under the road and a huge pump.”