MANDEVILLE — Mayor of Black River, Councillor Jeremy Palmer, says effective planning remains central to the Council’s operations to minimise the effects of natural disasters.
He said this is especially important in urban areas, where people live close together over small land areas.
“In urban settings… when planning falls short and disasters strike, the effects can be devastating to people’s lives… many times the casualties are greater,” the Mayor stated recently at a St. Elizabeth Parish Council-organised planning seminar held at the Luana Club in the parish.
“So, we take planning seriously at the St. Elizabeth Parish Council. It is not something that is an adjunct to the Council’s programme, it is at the centre of the Council’s programme. It is the sort of flagship of our responsibilities as a local authority,” he added.
Noting that planning goes awry when the authorities fail to enforce the laws, Mayor Palmer said stiff penalties should be applied against persons who block drains and gullies with garbage and other debris, which prevent the free flow of water, causing flooding and erosion of road surfaces.
“The time has come in the planning process in this country where serious sanctions must be brought against people who block drains, people who build walls to prevent the water from having its flow, people who plant things in the drains. The planning authority has a responsibility to see to it that the buildings that we approve are not put up in the water ways,” Mr. Palmer said.
Director of Planning at the St. Elizabeth Parish Council, Rohan Blake, in his presentation, provided details about the planning process, while Secretary Manager, David Parkes, highlighted the importance of effective planning in generating and maintaining investment and driving economic development.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter