May 28, 2004
Cross country road may affect water quality

Former general manager of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) this week told the nation, any route chosen for the proposed cross country road “is going to have significant deleterious effect on water quality and quantity”.
Daniel Cummings, who boasts 22 years experience at the utility, made this disclosure Tuesday at a press conference.{{more}}
Cummings said, “No matter where it goes” there will be significant implications.
Since 2002 Cummings has been voicing his opinion on the multi-million dollar project proposed by Government.
“The issues relating to the cross country road and water are really phenomenal,” said Cummings.
“You don’t know what you have until you lose it,” Cummings pointed out.
He mentioned that he had presented a document to the Prime Minister outlining all of the technical reasons why he believes the cross country road has significant problems for water supplies in the country.
Cummings alleges that his name was placed on an environmental cataloguing document in relation to the cross country road although he was never consulted on the matter. He claimed that the engineer consulted, on water and its impact on the road project, was a former engineer at the CWSA Garth Saunders.
Interestingly, Garth Saunders is now the man who will replace Cummings at the helm of the organization as of June 1.
However Searchlight has obtained a letter from Saunders who has sought to make it clear that he was “never consulted or contracted by the Consultants of the Cross Country Road Environmental Cataloguing to comment or advise on matters pertaining to water, watersheds or the impact of the road on our water supply.”
Saunders says that “Any such statement is misleading, mischievous and has led to some ridiculous conclusions by the uninformed.”
Saunders’s letter says his “only involvement in the project was to investigate and comment on the geology, soil type and strength and the risk of landslides within the zone. This came from my first hand knowledge and experience of soils and foundations up the Convent and Hermitage Valleys.
Cummings, for his part, told the media conference that he has since asked that his name be removed from the document.
The cross country road forms part of the Unity Labour Party Manifesto that was brought to Vincentians three and a half years ago. Its proposed construction has since become the subject of much debate nationally, with many opinions being voiced for and against.