#Freeport, GB, September 6, 2018 – Bahamas – The Building and Development Services Department of The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), Limited demolished the remnants of the previously burnt section of the International Bazaar’s Straw Market on Thursday, August 30th, 2018. The memorable blaze that ripped through the market in March of this year, left at least a dozen straw vendors displaced. The burnt structure created an eyesore, which later progressed to an unauthorized dumpsite. Residents voiced their concerns over the past months, noting that something needed to be done to address the deteriorating impact that the burnt structure posed to the area, which was being abused by individuals for the disposal of debris.
Although many shared the sentiments of simply “knocking” down the structure, the process to arrive at such a decision was anything but simple. Key representatives of the GBPA, worked in tandem with The International Bazaar’s Tenant Association, setting in motion a rigorous process, which involved careful assessments, conducted by teams led by members of the Building and Development Services Department, confirming the extent of the damage to the grounds and deeming the edifice as structurally unsound.
Troy McIntosh, GBPA Deputy Director & City Maintenance Manager of Building & Development Services stated, “We are sensitive to the concerns of Freeport residents; however, we must ensure we act in accordance with the byelaws. The process involves having two assessment reports completed: one by our team, and the second by an independent engineer. The two must conclusively agree that the building structure, is structurally unsound, i.e. the building is unsafe for habitation. We then must notify the owner of the property, allowing them the opportunity to make the necessary repairs. In the event the owner is unable to bring the property up to building code compliance, we then begin legal proceedings to have the building demolished.”
McIntosh further stated, “These laws are here to protect both property owners and the GBPA. For the 2018 year, residents of Grand Bahama would have seen two major demolition projects that are now fully completed: Pioneers Professional Plaza and Silver Sands, which now allow for new business opportunities to take its place.”
It is never the first choice to demolish a building. Rather, it is done when all other efforts have been exhausted and there is no other choice or option available. GBPA shares the views of many residents, that the removal of structurally unsound buildings allows the city of Freeport to position herself in a state of readiness and remain attractive to new opportunities to the island.