Downtown Kingston Has Vast Untapped Potential – Aubyn Hill


Kingston has great potential for a very bright future, particularly Downtown Kingston, which offers vast, untapped potential for commercial activity as well as residential accommodation.
This view was expressed by, Aubyn Hill, Group Managing Director for the National Commercial Bank and Director of the Kingston City Centre Improvement Company (KCIC), at a general forum at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Wednesday (Feb. 18) hosted by the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Development Committee (KSA PDC).
The forum was organized to enable stakeholders to share their experiences of the KSA Sustainable Development Plan project, which was established to provide a framework to promote orderly development, economic growth and environmental management over the next 20 years.
Mr. Hill said that the approach to the project was one that took a ‘long view’, with the aim of changing citizens’ mindsets and the way they behaved. “We as citizens must take a longer view that spans elections. All the cities that have been gentrified, refitted and revitalized, citizens and city leaders have had to take a long view and reclaim and develop their cities piece by piece. We have to do the same here,” he declared.
He pointed out that the sustainable development plan approach sought to ensure that the multiplicity of local and international agencies and Non Governmental Organisations did not waste energy and resources by championing overlapping projects and going to the same sources for funding for these activities. “The approach that Kingston is taking is ensuring that all of us who love our capital city will coordinate our efforts in a systematic and productive manner to achieve our objectives,” he added.
Mr. Hill said working under the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) the KCIC had been mandated to redevelop, restore, rehabilitate and revive the downtown business district. He said the KCIC would initially concentrate on the market district; the King Street corridor, the Kingston waterfront and the Harbour Street corridor.
“Working with the KSAC, the KCIC has short and long term goals. These include changing the current negative perception of downtown Kingston, to promote projects intended to rebuild the image and character of downtown and to protect those buildings that are of heritage concern and project the city as a positive place,” Mr. Hill told the stakeholders.
“Equally vital, the KCIC seeks to ensure that security of Downtown becomes the responsibility of all of us. Unless we make Downtown Kingston safe and secure, prospective residents and business investors will shy away from the centre of our capital city,” he further stated. Another objective the Chairman said was to promote KCIC projects geared to the renewal and revitalization of downtown Kingston and to sell the vision of redevelopment to all Kingstonians and Jamaicans as a whole.
The KCIC aims to develop public awareness and understanding for its mission and programmes, to encourage community support, build greater community pride and loyalty to the city and to encourage short term and long term support for urban renewal initiatives in Downtown Kingston.
Mr. Hill, mentioning that the KSAC was displaying a renewed commitment to the capital city, urged the public to “work with the Parish Development Committees, through forums like this to rebuild the physical, commercial spiritual and social pillars of our great city and may we all once again fall thoroughly and completely in love with this great capital city of Kingston”.
During the past year, the KSA PDC’s focus has been on the KSA Sustainable Development Plan Project which has received external funding from the World Bank through the Cities Alliance Programme and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Environmental Action Programme (ENACT). Kingston competed with cities from all over the world and was awarded the coveted grant of US$25 million.

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