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EU to deliver rescue plan proposal for crumbling City Hall

The windowless Mayoral Parlour at City Hall.

As the 130-year old City Hall slowly crumbles, the European Union (EU) will in another two months deliver a plan to determine how best to salvage the historic largely wooden structure that is part of the National Trust.

EU Ambassador to Guyana,  Jernej Videtič  made the announcement in the presence of President David Granger, Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Minister of Finance Winston Jordan Wednesday night at a reception held at the Pegasus Hotel to mark Europe Day.

“On a more significant note, I am happy to announce that we are again on track with the strategies to prepare a comprehensive restoration and sustainable management plan for the ailing City Hall of Georgetown,” he said to resounding applause. “It is expected that the report by the consultant will be ready by the end of July,” Videtič  added.

City Hall is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The report is expected to pave the way for the Guyana government or the Georgetown City Council to find the money to finance the restoration of City Hall  which was designed by architect Reverend Ignatius Scoles in 1887 and opened in July 1889.

In December 2016, the European Union Delegation in Guyana had announced that a contract had been awarded to EURONET Consulting GEIE for EUR 279,196 [G$64M] to craft the plan that should have been concluded by March/April 2017.

The rotting structure from which pieces break off and fall almost every week is the seat of municipal administration for Guyana’s capital, Georgetown. The Treasury Department, Town Clerk’s secretariat and the Chamber where Council meetings are held occupy the ground and middle floors.

The Mayor’s Parlour, whose rotten eastern and southern windows have been removed, is no longer occupied by the Chief Citizen. Instead, that area houses a web of cables and electrical wires many of which appeared to have been poorly fitted or installed.

City Hall’s upper floor, which was once was a prime venue for weddings, concerts and public fora, has been declared a no-go area due to the weakened floor and roof.  Rotting beams on the middle flat were recently supported by new greenheart planks, but windows and other parts of the building continue to fall off with increasing frequency.

Back in 2016, the EU had said the core of the assessment by EURONET was expected to involve conducting a condition assessment and evaluation of the physical and structural state of City Hall and the City Engineer’s Building; preparation and presentation of a comprehensive green restoration plan and a sustainable conservation management plan for City Hall and the City Engineer’s Buildings and facilitating training sessions and strengthening capacity within the relevant stakeholder agencies.