Falmouth's 'drag line' gets $20-million upgrade

The Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC) has undertaken a $20-million project, which involves the dredging and cleaning of Falmouth's 'drag line'— a massive earth drain that runs across sections of town to the sea — in a bid to mitigate the impact of flooding during the upcoming rainy season.

Chairman of the TMC, C Junior Gager, yesterday expressed optimism that the works on the problematic 1.6- kilometer 'drag line', which is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will minimise the risk of flooding in the historic town.

“I believe once it is cleaned, flooding will be under control. It will be cleaned and flowing so it must minimise flooding within the town,” a confident Gager said.

“One of the main concerns of the residents of this town is that this drag line and the town will be flooded. Now, with the dredging of the canal (drag line), the water will flow to the sea.”

Gager, who is also the mayor of Falmouth, is also upbeat about prospects that on completion of the project, residents will be relieved of the strong obnoxious odour now emanating from the congested water course.

“We believe that once it keeps flowing we will get rid of the smell that engulfs the town from time to time, and we feel satisfied with what we are seeing here now,” said Gager, during a recent tour of the project.

But while residents have welcomed the project, they are hoping that the 'drag line' will be maintained, in an effort to prevent it from returning to its former dilapidated state.

“We truly appreciate the cleaning of the 'drag line', however, we fervently hope that the relevant authorities ensure that it is kept clean,” said a resident of the seaside town for over 50 years, who gave his name as Paul.

Gager, however, gave the assurance that the TMC will oversee the maintenance of the massive drain. In fact, he explained that plans are afoot to educate individuals living in close proximity to the channel to refrain from dumping debris in it.

“We will be monitoring it and we will be educating the people who live on the banks of the 'drag line' because without them buying into it, we will be always having things going into it. But we are going to show them how important it is to keep it clean and flowing,” Gager promised.

“This (drag line) is just behind their houses so it is in their interest to keep it clean and keep the bottles and the old fridges out of it. They can store those things somewhere and NSWNA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) will collect them.”

The TMC chairman noted that area residents are reacting positively to the project as he lauded the citizens for their cooperation, noting that “some even remove the makeshift bridges they erected to cross the 'drag line'” to the homes.

“Some say that the smell is unbearable and they are really happy about the cleaning. They know there will be some sort of inconvenience....maybe the sludge coming out on the roadside, but they are willing to put up with that,” Gager said.

Already water is running freely along sections of the canal since the project got underway two weeks ago, and the contractors are confident that on completion, hopefully within the next two weeks, water collected from the various drains across the town will be transported to sea freely in the 'drag line'.

Gager commended the contractors for the quality of the work they have been doing.

“We can see that we are getting value for the money because although we are not finished yet, this is the first time we are going so deep with the cleaning, going straight through from the start of the canal end-to-end,” the mayor noted.