Thursday 5 December, 2019

Build with hurricane resilience in mind, says Mottley

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

With less than 30 days before the end of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season and nine months to go before the start of the 2020 season, the government has taken steps to ensure that the nation’s housing stock ready for any eventuality.

Addressing a national consultation on building for disaster resilience, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said time was not a luxury and she urged those leading the island’s construction industry to pause, reflect and determine how best to design solutions particularly for low income and lower-middle-income housing for the time.

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The prime minister said particular attention needed to be paid to respect for Barbadian building vernacular to ensure that structures were not only aesthetically pleasing but functional for the climate within which we live.

“Ironically, when we went to The Bahamas, one of the things made clear to us was that those house, for example, that survived the furore of Dorian, were those that were traditionally built to suit the purpose of the island in which they were being built . . . those that were on stilts that could withstand the storm surge.

“ . . . and I asked my self, therefore, why is it that our fore-parents never had to get ready. It was because they had always to be ready because they did not have the luxury of forewarning and therefore they have to build for the climate in which they lived,” Mottley stated.

The Prime Minister, following through with plans announced earlier this month following the passage of Hurricane Dorian and the damage the category five storm wrought on The Bahamas, said the consultation signalled government’s intent to change building standards.

“This signal the intention therefore of this government to have a strategic interjection to change how we have been building in the last 55 years and to bring us to a point where we control our environment by building not just for the climate but also for the times in which we live with respect to sustainable living and renewable energy and access to water.

“I say this . . . we are not starting with a green field. We are starting with a country that has houses and therefore we have a dual approach,” she noted.

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