The Sierra Leone Roads Authority has conducted a public disclosure of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and the Environmental and Social Management Plan for the rehabilitation of Moyamba Junction Road, Magbele, Mabang, Gbangbama and Bailey bridges.
The exercise took the form of interactive sessions at the SLRTA Conference room in Freetown, Songo Community Centre Magbele Central market and Moyamba Community Centre.
Addressing participants at the SLRA Conference Room in Freetown, the Chief Engineer Environment, Arthur Ebun Davies, said that the workshop is in accordance with government’s policy that requires agencies and organizations to investigate potential hazards and propose a management plan for any project prior to its implementation.
The Public disclosure of such document, he emphasized is a manifestation of SLRA’s resolve in ensuring that the people are adequately informed of issues that affect them. He called on participants to treat the workshop and the document with all amount of seriousness.
Mr. Davies noted that the issues contained in the report are of vital importance to the social and economic wellbeing of the various communities as well as the implementation and sustainability of the project.
Speaking on behalf of the Environment Protection Agency in Freetown and songo, the Deputy Director Environment Protection agency Victor Sawyer informed participants that the Act establishing the Agency came into being in 2002 under the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the environment. By the 2008 and 2010 Amendment Acts. He said the Agency became a separate body under the Office of the President.
Mr. Sawyer said by Legislation any project that has the potential of affecting the environment is required to undertake an environmental and Social Impact Assessment Plan and submits a proposal for mitigating such an impact.
The Public disclosure of the document, he went on, provides the forum for active involvement of the respective communities and stakeholders thereby making the people to develop a sense of ownership of the project.
In providing an update on the project in Freetown, Songo, Magebele and Moyamba, the SLRA Chief Engineer- Operations and Project Manager for the Moyamba Junction-Moyamba Road and four bridges, informed stakeholders that the project is funded by the European Union.
The project, he went on is divided into two lots – Moyamba junction-Moyamba Road, Gbangbama and Bailey bridges constituting Lot 1 and the Magbele and Magbang Bridges constituting Lot 2.
Dilating on the design, Chief Engineer Vandi French disclosed that the 33.6 Km, Moyamba Junction- Moyamba stretch will be paved with asphalt wearing course and that each of the four bridges will be two lanes drive with pedestrian walk way facilities.
In her presentation, the Senior Environment Officer, Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Lucy Eassa, called on stakeholders, to embrace the project in spite of the potential negative impacts. She said that environmental and social impact assessment of the project was compiled by a reputable consulting firm, noting that there is no issue in the report that may require further investigation. She however appealed to stakeholders to come up with any issue that is not addressed in the report for onward consideration.
The aim of the exercise, she explained, is to ensure that the environment is protected within the process of executing the project through participation of the local communities.
The three day forum was attended by representatives of the environmental Protection Agency, members of parliament, paramount chiefs, local government Councilors, and representatives of trade unions, youths and civil society organizations, community representatives and the fourth estate.