A plan of action to address issues at Macqueripe Beach, including railings and steps, began yesterday and will be completed by Easter weekend. Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis yesterday detailed the repairs and timeline in response to questions raised in the Senate by UNC Senator Wade Mark’ about the recent closure of the facility.

“These works were originally intended to commence during the Easter weekend. However, due to a recent article highlighting the disrepair of certain areas of the facility and a subsequent visit by the Chaguaramas Development Authority to the Macqueripe Beach facility, it was decided that the work would advance, and it is intended to be completed by Easter weekend,” she said.

In an earlier statement yesterday, Robinson-Regis said the scope of works is being crafted and contractors are being procured to carry out the necessary works as soon as possible.

Several meetings have been held internally and externally involving CDA’s Board to develop a long term plan. In that statement, Robinson-Regis said she was aware of the issues to return the beach to normalcy and had asked for both a long term solution and short term one.

“Within the last six years work was done on the Macqueripe Beach facility which we admit now needs refurbishment,” Robinson-Regis said in that statement.

In the Senate, she said CDA’s Board and management developed a comprehensive repair programme for Macqueripe Beach which included short and long term work involving the following:

Short Term Work

• Clearing of debris and pruning of trees.

• Curbs in the parking area are being painted. Car park spots will be clearly demarcated in yellow.

• Railings are being temporarily repaired until they can be removed and redone using cable wire.

• Steps have been pressure washed. The lifeguard booth will be painted and the steps will be repaired. Timber has been purchased for this.

Long Term Work

• CDA intends to repair rails throughout the perimeter of the area by installing concrete PVC bollards and removing the damaged timber railings that have not withheld the constant sea blast and public use.

• A daily paid crew is solely responsible for cleaning Macqueripe. The rough terrazzo on the steps gets slippery when wet and therefore a white lime treatment is usually done, along with pressure washing. These treatments need to be done more often. It is difficult to do these treatments regularly as there’s a water problem in the area. It was suggested that to further curtail the impact of the water issues, tanks can be installed to facilitate regular power washing and white lime treatments.

• Rain and spring water seepage have created a leak at the base of the stone retaining wall that flows onto the platform. This created a slippage problem. To alleviate this, a concrete drain will be constructed to divert the water to an existing earthen drain that will drain into the sea.

Sinkhole solution

Robinson Regis said a sinkhole at the facility had been an issue for quite some time.

“The Works Ministry’s Coastal Protection Unit has visited the sinkhole on several occasions and is in process of finding a solution,” she said.

After several consultations, it was suggested that a solution used in other areas of Trinidad be tried. It involves filling the void with stones and concrete and at the same time placing rocks to the front of the sea wall acting as a barrier to absorb impact from the sea and waves. UdeCOTT utilised a similar technique at seafront locations such as the north coast. Something similar was also done in Manzanilla and Mosquito Creek.

On concerns by the Macqueripe Early Morning Swimmers Association (MEMSA), Robinson-Regis said workers will be contacted for assistance with the appropriate machinery and personnel where necessary to remove burnt bamboo clusters that cause clearing issues in the area. Machinery will also be used to widen the verges by removing hanging bamboo that poses a threat to cars and pedestrians.

The CDA Estate Police has taken steps to alleviate double and improper parking on the roadway in Tucker Valley by conducting regular joint patrols with the TTPS. The police have advised that there is to be no parking on the verges as it is dangerous because of the number of persons traversing the roadway. The Facilities Department has begun creating additional parking areas for the public close to the heavily trafficked sites so as not to create a parking problem.