Team leader for the Civil Hurricane Recovery Austin van Heyningen (centre) symbolically hammers home his seal of approval for the two-bedroom house at Breedeweg with project manager Mel Raboen de Sanchez Pacheco and contractor Russel Spanner.
Building contractor Russel Spanner, carpenter Dexter Phillips, and construction worker Johannes “Hilo” Busby working on a home at Breedeweg. All three men received carpentry training on St. Eustatius and abroad.
ST. EUSTATIUS–The latest home in a list of 115 housing repair projects on St. Eustatius has been given the official seal of approval by the Dutch government. The two-bedroom house on Breedeweg is typical of the kind of support the Dutch government has provided by way of subsidy since last year’s hurricane season.
“The front and side walls and roof were completely gutted,” explains Russel Spanner, whose building company undertook the repairs.
“At first glance, the building today looks like a new copy of the old one, but a closer inspection reveals extra elements such as roof beams and window frames are designed to withstand this year’s hurricane season.”
Spanner explains that whereas every house repair project is different, all are closely assessed by the local technical team for Civil Hurricane Recovery.
“The entire building process is carefully managed to ensure owners are totally satisfied with the final result,” he says. “Final inspection is also stringent.”
Dutch project manager Mel Raboen de Sanchez Pacheco was assigned by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations to coordinate housing repairs. “On Statia, we have a total of 26 local building contractors who are currently at work to complete such housing repairs,” he says.
“We were particularly keen to use only local contractors. They care about their work and the new earthquake and hurricane building codes…We are delighted with the working skills and performance of the Statia building industry. We also wanted the revenue stream to stay on the island. Money may make the world go round, but better it go round and about the Historical Gem.”
A total subsidy of US $3.5 million was allocated to home repairs by the Dutch government and Pacheco is confident that all immediate housing repairs will be completed before September 2018.