DCA puts owners of abandoned buildings on notice
Torched Adjodha Building in Castries
The Development Control Authority (DCA) has put owners of abandoned buildings on notice, saying that if they do not address the issue, government will take steps in acquiring the property to ensure public safety.
The strong statement was expressed by DCA Chairman Clem Bob in the wake of two structural fires in the early hours of Wednesday, December 11.
One at Bisee in Castries which left four residents homeless and the other in the Marchand community.
Burnt house at Bisee
Divisional Officer at the Saint Lucia Fire Service, David Antoine confirmed that the torched structure at Marchand was an abandoned building.
“Officers from the Castries Fire Station responded to a structural fire at Arundel Hill, Castries. The structure consisted of a wooden abandoned house measuring 16 by 20. Firefighters were able to control and extinguish the fully engulfed structure,” Antoine said.
Divisional Officer at the Saint Lucia Fire Service, David Antoine
A Suzuki SX4 was also destroyed because of the blaze.
DCA Chairman Clem Bob says the entity is extremely concerned with the number of abandoned buildings standing around.
The structures, he says, pose not only a problem to the owners but pose an additional danger to public safety.
“Abandoned buildings normally tend to harbour vandals, etc. and undesirables quite apart from rodents and other things like that,” Bob stated.
The DCA, he says, has carried out an assessment of the situation, which included identifying the various structures.
“There is a whole list that the DCA has compiled to audit. The one thing now is on trying to put the tenders out and trying to get the monies to do this.”
As to whether these abandoned buildings will be demolished, that will be up to the owners.
“The owners will have a choice; either do something about it to make it safe; maybe they would have to audit properly or they might decide that they going to sell it or maybe if everything else fails the government will have to do an acquisition so that in the interest of space they can deal with it,” Bob said.
Just last week, a former chief engineer expressed public safety concerns; referencing the Adjodha Building in the William Peter Boulevard Castries, which has been considered a threat to the general public in its current condition.