Oct 22, 2017 News
It is believed to be the largest housing scheme in the country, with thousands of homes and residents. In the last decade or so, Diamond and the adjoining Golden Grove Housing Schemes have rapidly expanded with property values
among the highest, and one of the most demanded, in the country now.
Today, the area boasts of banks, insurance companies, a gas station, fast foods and even the regional hospital is located nearby. In the scheme itself, there is a power company sub-station and even a fire station.
At least five schools are located in the area. This is in addition to at least two factories and the government’s drug bond, and a police station on the Golden Grove side.
It is no wonder that congestion is a major problem. A solitary road, narrow at that, allows access to the schemes. With potholes and thousands of vehicles streaming in and out daily, the backups are causing major headaches.
This is never more pronounced than at peak hours between 06:30hrs to 09:00hrs and 16:00hrs to 18:00hrs, on weekdays.
Several government officials, including at least one minister, have homes in the area.
According to rough estimates by the local Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), the Diamond/Grove schemes have an estimated 5,000 homes or about 20,000 persons. The NDC has no way to know for sure as it is now conducting a survey to determine the number of homes.
Consecutive governments have been toying with different ideas to reduce the congestion.
When the scheme came into being in the late 2000s, it started with squatters in what was once canefields.
The government of the day decided to regularise it.
There were problems. Homes were already built. Today, there are many roads in place. Their narrowness and the cul-de-sacs are but evidence of the problems that manifest themselves.
Many of them are in a state of disrepair.
Under the previous administration, while the four-lane extension between Providence and Diamond was being facilitated by a US$20M loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), there were talks to create an alternative access road, between the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and the GuyOil gas station.
It would have projected east from the public road at the extreme northern end of the Diamond Housing Scheme and serve as an alternate to the current main access road.
However, it never came off the ground.
Then, under this administration, there were talks about a flyover bridge from the Diamond Access Road area to reduce the bottleneck there.
However, the current administration has reportedly abandoned this project.
This may be because of plans to build a road aback of Diamond leading to Ogle, East Coast Demerara. Funding has already been received.
Residents of the Diamond and Grove areas have been complaining bitterly about the congestion situation.
Kaieteur News has received several letters and has been talking to drivers and residents alike.
Persons have to leave at least 06:30 to reach for work at 08:00hrs. The return from work is even more frustrating with another line in the evening. The traffic lights are not working. And even if they were, there would be little relief.
The major problem seems to be at the beginning of the access road. It is narrow with a bridge and around a turn, which contribute to the congestion.
It appears that Government also has no lands to correct the problem. On the southern side of the access road, near the intersection, the land is reportedly owned by the M&M Snackette. On the north, the land is owned by Demerara Bank.
It is not clear whether there were talks to acquire the lands to improve the situation.
The compound at the bank is fenced with a trench behind that cannot be cleaned because there is no access for an excavator. It is overgrown with bush and filled with caimans and snakes.
The situation is a deeply frustrating one for residents and other road users. The situation is expected to get worse when work start on that Ogle bypass and more vehicles start to traverse the area.
According to officials at the NDC, they are now conducting a survey to determine how many homes and persons are living in the area.
But rough estimates put the number of homes at least 5,000. There are at least 1,500 vehicles that belong to residents of the area.
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