Plans are being made to review and upgrade the Territory’s building codes following the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma.
Speaking during a live radio Town Hall Meeting on ZBVI 780AM on September 25, Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE said, “This hurricane that hit us is the scale we have never seen before, it was a Category 5, and it was really devastating. Interestingly just before that, we had intense flooding, again, such as we never had before in the BVI. Times have changed, and global warming is definitely affecting us and we now have to look at where we are as a country and make the adjustments to suit the times in which we live.”
The Territory’s leader stated, “We have to take lessons from what has happened, certainly with Irma and review our building codes. We have lost and received damage to about 70 percent of our buildings, and that now gives us an opportunity to build smarter and stronger.”
The Premier said just a few months ago, he received a copy of the first draft of the new building code because he had some concerns about the way buildings were being constructed. He added, “But now we have to review that again, and when we do that, we will want to involve the community and get your contributions so that in the end, we will be able to build stronger and better.”
Also speaking in support of the building code review, Junior Minister for Trade, Investment Promotion and Consumer Affairs, Honourable Marlon A. Penn said, “We have an opportunity to rebuild and to do new things and rebuild green. Our rebuilding efforts have to take into effect the impact of global warming, as we have seen the impact of global warming first-hand.”
Sharing similar sentiments was the Junior Minister for Tourism, Honourable Archibald Christian who said that the Category 5 hurricanes seem to be the new norm, but the Territory now needs to build to withstand a Category 5 plus.
He added, “We need to build stronger and better, and it will take the efforts of professionals to assist us. We have a number of engineers here in the Territory, as well as those from the region and internationally but it can’t be business as usual anymore when it comes to building. We need to be building bunkers now that can withstand a Category 5 hurricane and above.”
Premier Smith and other members of Government appeared on a live radio Town Hall Meeting on Monday September 25, 2017 where as they provided an update on the Government’s rebuilding process, and addressed concerns from the community. The public is invited to continue to email their questions to [email protected]and they will be answered during the next scheduled radio town hall meeting.