The following letter was written to the Physical Planning division dated 30th August 2020 and has since been shared with DNO. The full letter is below:
To: Physical Planning division, 3 Charles Avenue, Goodwill, Commonwealth of Dominica
30th August 2020
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to you as a matter of concern as it relates to the current state and future of the Roseau public library.
I am sure that you are well versed in the history of the library, from its construction in 1906 funded by renowned industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who also built New York’s Carnegie Hall, Scotland and Pennsylvania’s Carnegie libraries among many other historic sites.
The Roseau library has great significance to Dominica’s history and culture.
The library has survived many hurricanes and storms including but not limited to Hurricane David in 1979 and was swiftly and craft fully restored to its former glory.
Since then it has been diligently providing well needed services to Dominicans including myself as a young student. As well as its historical and cultural significance, the Roseau library provides many important services such as:
– Literary and academic resources to students young and old like; books, magazines, videos and internet access
– Quiet study areas
– Job opportunities through employment of staff
– Collection and access to Dominican materials published both in and out of Dominica
It is heart-breaking to see the current state of such an important building, due to the damage of hurricane Maria in 2017 and since then the neglect of the premises. Recently the building has sustained what appears to be two arson attacks and I fear that there may be more attempts on the building and therefore suggest that the building be secured, boarded up and covered in the meantime in order to protect it until repairs of the building commence.
Due to the historic and cultural value of the library, I would like to propose that the building also be classified as a Grade A listed/protected building within the Environmental Protection Area under the Physical Planning Act no.5, 2002 as well as considered for application as a world heritage site. This would prevent and ward off any attempts to utilise the land for personal and commercial gain. I hereby formally request as per section 47 (1) of the physical planning Act of 2002 that an interim preservation order be put in place to protect the interests of the building and by extension Dominica’s history.
Section 47 (1) reads:
Where it appears to the authority made on its own initiative or on the representation made to the authority or to the minister by a PERSON or body of persons that it is desirable having regard to the importance of preserving the landscape, architectural, cultural or historical heritage of Dominica to make provision for the preservation of any building or group or buildings of special architectural or historic interest in Dominica, the Authority may for that purpose make an interim building preservation order restricting the demolition, alteration or extension of the building or group of buildings. I trust and expect that you will agree and that this will be actioned accordingly and await your response on the matter.