Woodbrook residents complain of noise, dust from Adam Smith Square

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Nearby Woodbrook residents are complaining about the dust and noise emanating from a site office for sidewalk refurbishment work at Adam Smith Square. Photo by Sureash Cholai

Constant dust and noise are what the residents of Woodbrook who live around Adam Smith Square say they experience on a daily basis as the area of the square, which was originally slated as the site of a proposed police post and public toilets, is now being used as a site office for the ongoing sidewalk refurbishment project.

One concerned resident said the dust from the site was so plentiful that they could sweep and mop every hour and still not get all the dust out.

“I could sweep now and come back an hour later. Our Christmas tree is laden with dust. If you stand here long enough you will hear the horn, which sounds frequently from the corner. Then you can hear the lifter scooping materials into the container and you can hear every rock hitting, then they bang the lift to get everything out. It is infuriating.”

Another resident said the work starts at 6 am every morning. They said they were not informed when the work would begin.

“We didn’t even know anything about it. It started on a Saturday and the councillor passed around and he said they only told him about it the Friday evening about 4 pm. They’re using here as a site office to house all the materials, and the trucks come and take it to where they’re doing the pavements, but it’s the noise and the dust. Sunday morning 6 am they start. They say when they finish all they’re going to do is the lights and the grass. We’ll wait and see.”

Containers and piles of materials, water tanks, and construction vehicles could be observed behind the yellow fencing which surrounds the site. Even though workers had left for the day, dust could be seen coming over and through the spaces in the walls whenever the wind blew.

One resident said he thought the activity had begun on the first Saturday of September, less than a month after residents had protested against the development on August 19.

“They have big vehicles coming out of there, pickups, backhoes, big trucks, so it’s constant traffic, they’re blocking the road. They’re making handicap ramps throughout Woodbrook, and they’re using this as their site office instead of using by the City Corporation. That’s wrong, it’s a park, it’s not meant for that. I have neighbours who no longer come out to sit on their gallery and relax, because they’re watching that big galvanised structure.”

A galvanised fence has been constructed at the site of a proposed police post at Adam Smith Square, Woodbrook. The site is now being used as a site office for sidewalk refurbishment works. Photo by Sureash Cholai

The residents said there had been no additional consultation or notification after the protest, and they were not sure what was the status of the project.

Port of Spain South MP Keith Scotland confirmed there was no construction going on in Adam Smith Square.

“If you are bringing materials to do a walkway, you need vehicles to bring the materials. This project has been rolled out and there is no construction, nothing being built in Adam Smith Square. Before this protest occurred I met with representatives of the residents and assured them there would be no construction on the square.”

Scotland said his focus now was helping the residents and the bars co-exist. He said this Saturday he’d taken a call from musician Ray Holman, who had called him to protest the noise which had gone on almost all night.

Holman said he was impressed Scotland had taken the call, especially as it was his birthday.

“A couple of hours later his administrator had called back to say he was coming to see me. I was impressed at that response from a parliamentarian and I look forward to seeing what comes of it. I wish all other arms of the state responsible for protecting residents would respond like that.”

Efforts to reach Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis were unsuccessful.