KINGSTON — The Ministry of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government will be conducting audits on a number of other fire stations across the island, which have deteriorated over time.
“There are a number of them that are not in the best of shape. We are aware that a number of them are in deplorable conditions. A few have been fixed, but we have to get (the rest of) them in better shape,” said Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang.
He was responding to questions posed during Wednesday’s (November 23) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House.
He informed that some $200 million are needed to construct a new fire station to house administrative and operational personnel attached to the Montego Bay branch in St. James.
The previous structure, situated on Barnett Street in downtown Montego Bay, was closed after falling into disrepair and personnel relocated to premises at the Montego Freeport. The alternative location has also deteriorated, raising concern about its suitability to house the fire personnel.
Dr. Chang advised that based on the prevailing developments, a new station will have to be built at Barnett Street, however, this could not be facilitated in the current budget.
“But, it is something of some urgency and we will have to look how we can, in fact, adjust our fiscal space to accommodate this and certainly, it is one of the things we will be looking at in the new financial year,” he informed.
In the meantime, Dr. Chang advised that State Minister for Local Government, Hon. Shahine Robinson, has dispatched a team to examine the temporary facility, in a bid to determine what improvements, if any, can be effected to the building.
“I am aware that…it (temporary location) is inadequate but (Minister Robinson) is going to do an audit of the facility to see if we have to move (the firemen) or take steps to repair it, although it is rented, and make it, at least, tolerable for some time,” he said.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter