JIS News

A number of resort areas are slated to benefit from major rehabilitation and upgrading this year at a cost of $1.2 billion.

The projects, which are being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will benefit Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril and Port Royal.

“Already, Memoranda of Agreements have been signed and a total of $550 million has been put in place to start these projects. These funds have already been transferred to the implementing agencies,” said Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon Dr. Wykeham McNeill.

He was making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives earlier this week.

Providing details, the Tourism Minister informed that work is slated to begin in September on the first phase of an infrastructural development project for Ocho Rios. The project, which will cost $400 million, involves the rehabilitation of the area between the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa and the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier.

The first phase, which went to tender in June, will encompass the cruise ship pier and Turtle River Road, which runs from the pier to Main Street.

Elements of the project involve the total refurbishing and upgrading of the cruise ship terminal, including the façade, and improvements to the parking area. Turtle River Road will also be completely reconstructed with new architecture and landscaping.

“There will be improvements to Main Street including work to be done on the sidewalks, improved landscaping and new architecture. Also, the boardwalk along the seaside between the cruise ship pier and back to the Jamaica Grande side will be totally refurbished to allow free access to Jamaicans and visitors alike,” Dr. McNeill said.

Meanwhile, $400 million has been budgeted to provide lighting for the full length of the ‘Elegant Corridor’ in St. James.

The 27-kilometre stretch, which is part of Segment-2a of the North Coast Highway, extends from the round-a-bout at the Sangster International Airport to Lilliput.

Dr. McNeill said that the project design has been completed and is ready to go to tender. “Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting powered directly from the national grid will be used,” he informed.

In addition, $170 million has been allocated for the construction of sidewalks, bicycle tracks and pedestrian pathways along the Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril.

This project, which is already underway, covers the six-kilometre stretch from the roundabout in the town to the aerodrome. Provisions will be made for drainage and safe pedestrian and motor vehicle interaction. The works are slated to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

Dr. McNeill informed further that work will be undertaken at Port Royal at a cost of $220 million, to involve the rehabilitation of the Naval Hospital and the creation of a museum within that building to house the many valuable artefacts that have been recovered from the sea over the years.

The project will include the development of an interactive children’s museum and the construction of a cobble-stone historic walking trail with storyboards and support services between the Naval Hospital and Fort Charles.

“We are also working with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) to identify and determine an archaeological dig along this walkway. This will become an additional attraction, as it will be cordoned off and become an active archaeological site,” Dr. McNeill said.

He said that the programme content of the state-of-the art theatre at Port Royal, will also be upgraded to enhance the product offering to locals and visitors.

Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwards

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