A team from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre led by Executive Director Dr Kenrick Leslie was present yesterday for the official opening of the Marchand Community Centre, a climate-smart facility near Castries, Saint Lucia. The Marchand Community Centre was renovated and retrofitted as a pilot adaptation project under the Special Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change ( SPACC): Implementation of Adaptation Measures in Coastal Zones Project— a multi component initiative executed by the Centre with co-financing from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) through the World Bank and the Government of Saint Lucia.
Other participating countries included Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and The Commonwealth of Dominica.
The community centre was renovated and retrofitted to demonstrate the design and implementation of appropriate interventions to reinforce critical infrastructure that can withstand the effects of intensified wind speeds from category three and above hurricanes. Dr Leslie told the gathering of community members, government officials and media that the US$300, 000 facility, 60% of which was financed through the Centre, incorporates new wind speed engineering design and is an energy efficiency success story. He noted that the facility features a US$36, 000 photovoltaic (PV) component funded by the 5Cs, Government of Saint Lucia and Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP) that will ensure the provision of power during outages, which will prove essential in the event of a storm.
Reinforced critical infrastructure such as the Marchand Community Centre, a multipurpose facility slated to also function as a hurricane shelter, is a key part of efforts to make the Caribbean more climate resilient, especially as scientists predict an average of three to four Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year by 2025 in the Atlantic Basin.
This successful pilot project has already yielded significant systemic changes that will benefit Saint Lucia and the wider region. These changes include:
Incorporation of the Marchand Community Centre into Saint Lucia’s National Emergency Management Plan (NEMP)-Cabinet Conclusion 1159/2009 of September 24, 2009
Incorporation of design wind speed standards into Saint Lucia’s Development Control Authority (DCA) process for commercial and public buildings
Incorporation of improved engineering standards into Saint Lucia’s Building Codes
Strengthening of the Caribbean Unified Building Code
Training, promulgation of standards
The multipurpose facility will be used for a myriad of activities, including:
National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) storage facility (One section of the ground floor)
Weekly Feeding Programme (One section of the ground floor)
Daily Boxing Programme (Top floor)
Meetings/community events (Top floor)
Shelter during natural disasters, including mudslides (for example the Black Mallet community) and hurricanes (First floor)
Improvements made to the Marchand Community Centre
- Redesign and replace of roof
- Hurricane strapped roof structure
- Natural ventilation via dormers
- Impact resistant windows
- Energy-efficient lighting and appliance
- Generation of electricity using photovoltaic (PV) technology, including battery backup
- Strengthened stairways
- Balcony (sustainability) facing field
- Water storage
- Potable water - Rainwater harvesting
- Water conservation, through the use of low-flush toilets, basins etc.