The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Abokobi Hon. Janet Tulasi Mensah, has yet again issued a stern warning to encroachers of waterways in the municipality. The MCE said this in an interview with the media at a demolition exercise at Dome Parakou, Paradise-Riverside.
The Assembly on Wednesday, 29th and Thursday, 30th moved to pull down structures near the Onyasea River which divides the Ga East Municipality and the Okaikwei North Municipality, following growing concerns by residents on the spate of flooding in the area with a little rainfall.
The Assembly, determined to clamp down on recalcitrant and deviant developers who build on waterways and places designated as roads and for public use without recourse to the necessary, required procedures by the Assembly, embarked on the exercise to send the right signal.
The demolition exercise, was not only meant to address the perennial flooding in the Dome Parakou Paradise-Riverside area, but also formed part of the Assembly’s plans towards safeguarding the sanctity and serenity of the water bodies and climate change agenda.
On Wednesday morning, an excavator, hired through the efforts of the Paradise-Riverside Residents’ Association, with support from the Assembly, razed down buildings identified to have encroached on the waterways and buffers of the Onyasea River.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Janet Tulasi Mensah, who was personally on site for the demolition exercise observed that indiscriminate building is a major cause of flooding in the municipality and wondered why people would spend their hard-earned money putting up structures at unauthorised places only to be demolished and encouraged them to seek the right permits.
“Our actions and inactions have diverse effects on us as a people. We see that a place is waterlogged or waterway but because we have money, we fill such places and build on it and at the end of the day it comes back to affect the whole community. I’m appealing to all prospective developers to approach the Assembly and obtain the necessary permits before embarking on any project in the municipality”, she said.
She further bemoaned the habit of some people in diverting natural waterways to suit their parochial interests and stated that the Assembly is moving to deal with such offenders.
“I believe we all understand that building on waterways causes flooding. The Assembly has the mandate to pull down such structures and I’m therefore using this opportunity to caution us all to desist from such practices in order not to make us resort to demolition”, she stated.
The Municipal Works Engineer (MWE), Peter Bah-Lano, who supervised the exercise, alongside his colleague, the Municipal Urban Roads Engineer (MURE), Aboagye Foster, recounted the flooding situation in the area and said he was hopeful that the action will send the right signal to developers who undertake projects without consulting the Assembly for the required permits.
“Every year, when it rains it affects people living here badly. The Onyasea River passes here and people have encroached on the buffer and this impedes the flow of water into it. Through state-citizens participation in governance, the Association made contributions and we collaborated to undertake this exercise”,
The MWE expressed gratitude to the Residents’ Association for teaming up with the Assembly to carry out such action and called on the other RAs, individuals and corporate bodies to follow suit to help curb the numerous developmental menaces in the municipality.
“We know the problems in the various communities but the Assembly hasn’t got the funds to tackle all so I’m appealing to the other Residents’ Associations to mobilise themselves and and support us to address the challenges facing them. We know Associations such as the South East Haatso, South Kwabenya, Ashongman Estate and Pure Water, among others, are all doing their best in this regard so we are calling on the others to follow suit”, the MWE requested.
An executive member of the Dome Parakou Paradise-Riverside Residents’ Association, Mr. Ernest Appiah, who was at the site of the demolition exercise together with Mr. Kofi Appiadu and other members, expressed his and the Association’s joy at and commendations for the action taken by the Assembly.
“Those of us who live here suffer a lot from flooding whenever it rains. We came mobilised ourselves as an Association and submitted our request to the Assembly and the result is what we’re witnessing. The Assembly coming in to do this exercise brings us a lot of joy and we’re grateful to them”, he said.
Similar exercise is expected to be carried out in the parts of the municipality where developers have encroached on waterways and public places.
The Assembly has already commenced due diligence to complete the necessary legal processes on other structures earmarked for demolition in the area.