Renovations needed at Stabroek, Vreed-en-Hoop stelling – boat operators
When the tide is low or unusually high, offloading passengers at the Stabroek and Vreed-en-Hoop stellings, on either side of the Demerara River, becomes a challenge and as such, some of the Demerara boat operators have called for an extension of the stellings and the construction of additional stairs.
These renovations, the operators told the News Room on Thursday, would provide much-needed assistance to passengers and operators alike.
Bob Mangal, a boat operator and monitor, said that there are about 58 speedboats operating between the Stabroek and Vreed-en-Hoop stellings. At ‘rush hour’ however, the two stairs that passengers use to disembark from either stellings do not suffice.
The low tide, Mangal said, usually exacerbates this situation. Then, the boats are unable to dock closer to the stelling and as such, it takes longer to offload passengers. And, there is a buildup of boats at the location.
“Here have to develop, when they discharging and they loading, have to have a better facility …. It needs a bigger step so the flow of the passenger could be able to come and go into the boat,” Mangal said, pointing to the stelling.
Another boat operator, Troy Courts, highlighted, “For this place to be helped in the low tide, to avoid all the commotion, the government got to build this landing more wide out fuh accommodate the low water and put more steps out of the channel.”
Courts, who has been an operator for almost 30 years, explained that when the water is low, it becomes risky for passengers to disembark from the speedboats. According to him, they would have to slowly stretch across onto the stairs, before getting onto the stelling.
“…. You does have to take your time, you does have to wait to come out one by one,” he said.
Like Mangal, he said that renovations to the stelling and the construction of additional stairs would allow for an easier flow of passengers. Additionally, he said that it would become safer for people to traverse.
On Thursday morning, the tide was low and the News Room observed how challenging it was for boats to get to the stelling and offload passengers. The boat operators had to manoeuvre from the river into the stelling area, and carefully allow passengers to disembark.
Meanwhile, Vice-President of the Demerara speedboat association and a boat operator, Yusuf Bacchus, lamented that the lack of adequate facilities leads to the destruction of the boats as well.
“The propellers does hit wood, break and it more expensive on we… The step them over so (at the Stabroek stelling) need to look after properly or come out more.,” Bacchus said.
He also called for dredging works to be done to clear the channels leading into the two stellings.