Demolition of dilapidated Kaizer Flats to start this month
Demolition of four dilapidated buildings in the Kaizer Flats enclave in Tema Community Four is scheduled to start later this month.
The TDC Development Company Ltd (TDCL), formerly Tema Development Corporation (TDC), has confirmed that after a long and intense discussion and negotiation, the contract has been awarded to the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Army to demolish the structures and the work is expected to be completed within three months.
In February this year, about 300 individuals representing 60 families occupying the four blocks of flats earmarked for demolition were evacuated under the supervision of officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the TDCL, Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), the Ghana Police Service and personnel from the National Security.
The evacuation thus paved the way for the TDCL to take possession of the four block-apartments and prepare the Kaizer Flats site for demolition and subsequently for redevelopment into modern apartments to meet the country’s housing deficit.
The pending demolition exercise was made known when the officials of TDCL, the contractors and other stakeholders, including the NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana National Fire Service, Town and Country Planning, and GLICO, which is providing both Public Liability and Group Personnel accident insurance cover for the duration of the knocking down exercise, addressed the media in Tema on Monday.
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Addressing the journalists, the Supervising Civil Engineer at TDCL, Mr Edward Mensah Sanjok, said the demolition exercise of the Kaizer Flats would be carried out in four phases.
Phase one, he said, would involve the salvaging of materials and reusable components from the Kaizer Flats site, during which occupants and residents would be allowed to salvage valuables from the structure prior to the flattening of the buildings.
The second phase, he said, would be the controlled collapsing of the identified structure and that would involve hoarding off the entire area and the use of earth moving equipment.
He added that the third and fourth phases of the exercise would see the cutting of all steel and reinforcements, using an oxygen-acetylene torch and other pneumatic cutters, as well as the hauling of debris off the site and the preparation of the site for future redevelopment.
Mr Sanjok gave an assurance that his outfit and the contractors’ would adhere strictly and follow the right procedure for the demolition of structures in order not to disrupt or cause injuries to residents living near the project site and business operators around the enclave.
He asked residents to bear with TDCL and its contractors during the exercise because of the possible inconveniences it might create.
The Director in charge of Geological Disasters at NADMO, Mr Richard Amo Yartey, commended the TDCL and said the demolition was critical in preventing disaster.
Mr Samuel F. Oppong of the Safety Department of the Ghana National Fire Service, Tema, said his outfit would provide the needed technical support, including the stationing of fire engines and personnel at the site during the demolition exercise to check all forms of hazards, including dust pollution and any possible fire incident.
A Senior Programmes Officer of the EPA, Mr Abdallah Abubakari, urged the contractor to abide by environmental concerns and mitigation measures adopted by all the stakeholders in order not to inconvenience the public.
The Kaizer Flats was planned and developed in the 1960’s to provide residential facilities for workers working in the industrial area. Over the years, the structures have outlived their purpose and there are severe structural damages.
The four flats, which are blocks numbered 407, 408, 410 and 415 have since 1982 been declared inhabitable by the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL), but the occupants have been in and out of court battling with authorities over the issue until a definite directive was given by the High Court in 2018, directing the occupants to vacate by January 31, 2018 for its original owners [TDCL] to carry out a demolition exercise.
The TDCL has indicated its preparedness to extend its renovation exercise to the remaining 10 blocks of flats in the area, which have also developed structural defects.