Ebenezer residents remain in the dark five years after Irma

Ebenezer residents remain in the dark five years after Irma

Overhead live cable on Lionel Connor Road, a situation of five years

PHILIPSBURG--The residents of Ebenezer have had enough: five years after Hurricane Irma, the district still has no street lighting. Although there is a lamppost on every street corner, the lamp does not work or it has no lamp at all. Residents feel unsafe.

The Ebenezer neighbourhood borders Milton Peters College, a neat middleclass neighbourhood where many professionals from the education sector, business and government live. Detached houses with gardens lie on either side of Ebenezer Road which runs from Betty’s Estate towards South Reward and then loops behind Milton Peters College towards St. Maarten Academy PSVE.
Every school day, traffic in the neighbourhood comes to a complete standstill in the morning and afternoon. To avoid the busy L.B. Scott Road, parents of students take a shortcut through Saunders and Betty’s Estate, resulting in a motorcade of cars moving at walking pace on Ebenezer Road through the neighbourhood. No ambulance or other emergency service can pass, if necessary.

NV GEBE does not respond to requests to secure this dangerous situation.

The surface of Ebenezer Road shows wear and tear, the infrastructure is not equipped for the daily number of cars that pass.
Street signs are missing in Ebenezer. Since the passing of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the connecting streets between Ebenezer Road have no nameplates. There are no road signs either. Many a motorist who drives into the neighbourhood to avoid the busy school traffic does not realise that there is only one traffic artery in the neighbourhood and drives through the neighbourhood in circles.

Most lampposts in Ebenezer have no streetlights

The Ebenezer Community Council Foundation has written letters to the Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure VROMI, to VROMI Minister Egbert Doran and to utilities company NV GEBE with the urgent request to offer solutions. There was little to no response.
Five years after the hurricane, residents of Ebenezer are anxiously awaiting improvement. “It is shame that after five years we are still waiting for government to fix the little things that make a big difference in our community, especially the safety aspect,” a resident said.
The neighbourhood is frequently confronted with theft of gas cylinders, garden tools and car parts. Thieves can easily strike in the absence of street lighting, conclude residents, who complain about GEBE’s laxity.
On Lionel Connor Road, near St. Maarten Academy PSVE, an overhead electrical cable has been hanging above the road for the past five years. At night this black cable, which carries power, is not visible and poses a danger to trucks of a certain height.
“NV GEBE just needs to write a letter to VROMI for a waiver to put the live cable underground for the safety of the residents,” a senior resident commented.
Others in the Ebenezer community want to know what the government’s priorities are for community development because “everything is put on hold by NV GEBE and GEBE senior relief is off the table for now.”
The residents are fed up with the situation and urge the Ebenezer Community Council to urgently address the need for streetlight repairs, road signs and resurfacing the roads for the school traffic every morning.

The Daily Herald

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