Railway Lane Land Available for Commercial Development


Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has announced that the land formerly occupied by informal settlers at Railway Lane in St. James had been acquired by the National Housing Trust (NHT) and would be used for the commercial expansion of the city of Montego Bay.
He said that once the residents have been relocated steps would be taken to prevent the resettlement of the community.
Mr. Patterson was speaking in Montego Bay on Friday (May 7) at a ceremony to formerly hand over keys to beneficiaries of housing units at Providence Heights, which was developed by the NHT at a cost of $498 million.
Approximately 280 persons from Railway Lane and Barracks Road in the parish are being relocated to Providence Heights under the Government’s Relocation 2000 programme.
The Prime Minister informed that the land being acquired by the NHT would be sold to the private sector, with incentives provided for the sector to undertake the physical development and economic expansion necessary to provide jobs for the residents of the area.
Mr. Patterson further stated that the Ministry of Water and Housing had been asked to assemble a team to prepare engineering and infrastructural designs for the provision of serviced lots in surrounding communities. The plan should include the provision of water, roads and drains, complete with the cost of undertaking such development. A report should be presented at an upcoming meeting of the Provident Society where final cost of the service lots will be outlined. Mr. Patterson said he expected that a contract would be in place by July in order that work could commence in early August.
The Prime Minister reminded the residents that the houses and service lots were not a gift although they were being sold at subsidized prices based on the acquisition of the land at Railway Lane and Barracks Road by the NHT. He told them that they would be required to honour their mortgage arrangements with the NHT in order to facilitate improvements in other areas.
Mr. Patterson noted however, that arrangements have been made for beneficiaries, who are not subscribers to the NHT, to lease their units until their situation was regularized.
Mr. Patterson further urged the residents not to allow their community to become a haven for wrongdoers or a source of illegal activity. He said residents should be able to walk in peace and be free from fear at all times.
Prime Minister Patterson announced the Relocation 2000 Programme in September 1999, to address the problem of informal settlement in four communities across the island. In addition to the relocation of residents from Railway Lane and Barracks Road in St. James, an estimated 120 households were relocated from Seville in St. Ann to Bell Air. Land has now been identified for the relocation of an estimated 300-340 households from Mona Commons in St. Andrew.

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