Executive Council met this morning with just one item on the agenda related to the airport project. As mentioned in my EXCO report of 25 June this was to more fully consider a request for an amendment to the consent for the Airport Project, given by the Governor in Council in 2008.
To assist with this we were joined by Deon de Jager from Basil Read, colleagues from the Project Management Unit, and Janet Lawrence from the Access Office.
In 2008 it was proposed that two culverts should be constructed beneath Dry Gut fill to convey the runoff from the Dry Gut catchment and the south western portions of the airfield footprint. Basil Read proposed a design involving a single culvert coupled with an attenuation dam upstream of the culvert inlet. This was adopted as the Reference Design within the airport contract.
During the design stage a number of alignment options were investigated for the culvert, but it was found that risks were associated with them all, relating primarily to the risk of culvert subsidence. Basil Read therefore looked at alternatives. This resulted in a proposal to construct an open drainage diversion channel through the ridge to the south of Dry Gut; this solution would replace the culvert and attenuation dam.
The open channel proposal has been thoroughly reviewed and confirmed as a viable design solution for dealing with drainage in Dry Gut. There are also a number of additional benefits associated with the proposal. For example, without the need to construct the attenuation dam, the impacts in that area of Dry Gut will be reduced. The channel will also allow easier access for maintenance, thereby reducing long-term maintenance costs.
A further benefit will be that construction of the open channel will make available 600,000 cubic meters of material which can go directly into the Dry Gut fill. This is a useful bonus as Basil Read has encountered higher quantities than expected of material that is unsuitable to be used as fill.
Noting that the open channel proposal has been through rigorous appraisal from technical, financial, economic, social and environmental perspectives, Executive Council fully agreed that the original consent for the Airport Project should be amended to enable the Open Channel proposal to proceed. And so ended our short meeting.
Unless any other urgent matter arises, this was probably the last meeting of Executive Council before the general election on 17 July.
As I’m sure most of you will know there are 20 candidates confirmed as standing for election. Now it is up to you, the voter, to make sure that on 17 July you are ready to cast your vote. Between now and polling day on 17 July you have plenty of time to listen to what the candidates have to say about how they would like to see St Helena develop.
Do take time to listen to the candidates when they are interviewed on the radio. If you can, do go along to their various public meetings where you can put your questions to them. The 12 candidates that are successful on polling day will be making decisions about the future of your Island. So it is absolutely in your interest that on 17 July you should turn out to vote for the candidates that you believe have the ability to provide the leadership that the Island needs to guide it to a successful future, to shape St Helena as you would like to see it.
For my part as Governor, I commit to you to work hard with the Councillors that you elect to move St Helena forward, while always ensuring that we do so guided by the Constitution, its partnership values, and the principles of good governance.
So come rain or shine on 17 July please do use your vote.
Thank you as always for listening and a very good afternoon to you all.
5 July 2013