Houses on brink of collapse in Portland community

April 13, 2017
Some of the houses perched on the edge at Bryan's Bay in Portland.
Homeowner Ian Edwards points to the damage caused by a massive landslide.

Rattled nerves and worry best describe the feeling being experienced by property owner Ian Edwards of Bryan's Bay in Portland, whose house, along with several others, are now on the brink of collapsing.

The anxiety has now escalated to tension and has created fear in the hearts of at least nine homeowners, following a massive landslide on March 26, which has since worsened with each rainfall.

"We have had sleepless nights since that massive landslide," said Edwards. "It rained Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night of this week, which caused further panic among just about all the homeowners and their families. It's like we are sitting on a time bomb, waiting for it to explode. We stand to lose everything ... all of this will be destroyed unless the National Works Agency (NWA) acts speedily."




Edwards was referring to the proposed construction of a retaining wall by the NWA to prevent further land slippages, which have worsened since the construction of the Portland leg of the north coast highway.

Several landslides have taken place along the main road leading from Black Hill in West Portland to Bryan's Bay in the east.

Deputy mayor of Port Antonio, Rohan Vassell, who toured the area yesterday, expressed shock as at least three of the houses are agonisingly close to the edge of what is now a precipice.

"My concern is that at the very next heavy downpour, we might very well be digging for bodies," said Vassell.

He said that the powers that be need to treat the matter with the utmost urgency as any further delay could result in not only the collapse of houses, but also loss of lives.

"It is high time that state-run agencies becomes proactive rather than reactive. This matter, as I was told, was first reported to the NWA in 2014, and visits were made to the area by a technical team. To date, there has been no indication as to when construction of a retaining wall will begin."

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