Time is of the essence when it comes to saving the remaining aesthetics of City Hall.
Head of the Engineer’s Department of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, (M&CC) Colvern Venture spoke to Kaieteur News about the urgency with which the plan to save the iconic structure must be treated.
According to the City Engineer, there is no telling when the building could collapse.
Venture explained “I would need to do a complete analysis of the structure before I can make that determination to say it would be exactly three years or two years before the building will be rendered completely useless.”
He noted “however what I do know is the building is in very bad condition and needs urgent redress.”
He said a quick assessment of the building has shown major signs of deterioration.
Venture noted that some parts of the building have already shown signs of disconnect.
“If you examine parts of the structure, you can see it has been splitting. This is due to the heavy
vibrations caused container trucks/haulers that traverse Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic almost daily.”
The City Engineer explained that the vibrations from heavy duty vehicles have resulted in considerable damage to the base and structure of City Hall. “This cannot be avoided, since the building is located at the centre of a very busy commercial area.”
In addition to the splitting beams, considerable damage has been done to the edifice by elements of the weather.
“Again, this cannot be avoided, but proper maintenance could have at least quelled some of the damage caused by the sun and rain.”
He continued that water marks are evident on sections of the outer and inner walls of the building.
Venture explained that despite efforts to fix it, the roof often leaks in periods of heavy rainfall.
“As a result, sections of the building have been damaged severely. The supporting beams are in very bad condition, in some parts it’s actually like paper. If you touch… it will loosen up in your hands.”
While the preservation of City Hall is important, even more central is the danger it poses to workers and visitors of the Council.
The building hosts the administrative staff quarters of the council as well as the office of the Town Clerk and the rate collectors unit.
As such, Venture recommended urgent evacuation of the building to effect the much-needed repairs.
“The Council has been sitting idly by in this instance,” he said
“There is already a plan to move the staff quarters to another location. The Council wants to construct a building adjacent to the Mayor’s office to house the administrative staff quarters.”
“The base of the work has started. The challenge is implementing the work plan. We have moving towards that, and hopefully with enough funding and support it will materialize,” he added.
City Hall has been the subject of a restoration project which dates back three years.
Last Wednesday , a public trust fund was launched to preserve the aesthetics of the 19th Century Gothic Revival building.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, (M&CC), the Guyana National Trust and the Private Sector Commission (PSC). Speakers of the launch noted the urgency with which the restoration project should be treated.
In his address, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) Delegation of Guyana, Ponz Canto, emphasized the urgency of the work.
In 2018, the EU had provided a grant of G$60M to finance the feasibility study to restore City Hall.
Ambassador Canto noted that initially when the study was conducted the cost to restore City Hall stood at approximately US$3M.
“But now because so much time has passed without any work done… the cost has gone up to US$5M, since the building has been further deteriorated. I wish to state the work at hand is very urgent. Works must commence to not just restore, but save this iconic structure before it falls apart.”
Further, the EU Ambassador said the richness of Guyana is not merely its natural resources, it’s not only the oil, and it’s not only the excellent food, but its culture and its people. And as part of that culture is the architectural patrimony, of which City Hall is a valuable part.”
“This building here is part of that richness, but it is in a sad state, and I’m sure it is not the only one, there are so many other buildings that need repair.”
Ambassador Canto pledged their continued support for City Hall and joined in the call for Guyanese as well as other international partners to support in financing of the restoration project.
The fund trust has since garnered financial support from a number of religious organizations, private sector agencies and individuals.
At the launch, the largest donation was from Impressions Branding which promised a contribution of $5 million, Pator Dil Mohamed pledged $150,000 and Deputy Mayor, Albert Mentore donated $50,000.
Speaking at the launch, City Mayor Pandit Ubraj Narine said “It bleeds my heart when I see that one of our historic buildings is falling apart, and I believe that we all as Guyanese must work to build City Hall.”
Narine stated that the Council is looking to raise at least US $5.2Million to restore the historic edifice. He therefore called on the private sector, civil society, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, stakeholders and Guyanese abroad to play an integral role in saving the famous landmark
The Mayor sought to quell concerns over the management of the trust fund. He noted that the City Council will not be the only manager of the fund.
“Any withdrawal from the account will have to be approved by the City Treasurer, a representative of the National Trust of Guyana, as well as the Private Sector Commission.
The Mayor said that a special committee was established to assist in the management of the Trust Fund.
The Mayor said that the intention is to establish accounts in various banks countrywide where persons could make contributions toward the project. At present, deposits can be made into account number 4023313 at Demerara Bank.
Apr 05, 2020This year-one review is based on the 10 Point ‘Cricket First Plan’ that was the foundation of the Ricky Skerritt-Dr Kishore Shallow 2019 election campaign. In March 2019, he was elected as the...
Apr 05, 2020
Apr 05, 2020
Apr 04, 2020
Apr 04, 2020
Apr 03, 2020
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]