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Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Robert Pickersgill has announced that a coastal study on the Palisadoes peninsula is set to begin immediately, at cost of $14 million.
The Minister made this announcement at the signing of the contract to commission the study, at the Ministry’s head office on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston, yesterday (December 7).
The Ministries of Housing, Transport, Water & Works, and Local Government and Environment, the National Works Agency and the Cuban Company, Inversiones Gamma S.A. were involved in the signing.
Minister Pickersgill pointed out that the contract would entail a study of the coastal regime of the Palisadoes peninsula from Caribbean Terrace to Port Royal; engineering designs, and the preparation of Bills of Quantities for the rehabilitation of the prioritized 5-kilometre section, with special emphasis on the most critical 1.5 kilometres of the peninsula.
Arising from the study, the Minister noted that the final report would state the engineering design drawings for the shoreline protection works, bonding works as may be necessary, along with the need for the associated road improvement, drainage works and public recreational facilities.
He said that the study would recommend the level of work to be completed in the short or medium term, adding that the protection of the shoreline would be treated with the greatest level of urgency.
“As it relates to the extent of the shoreline protection works in the short and long term.for the short-term, it has been assumed that the narrowest areas (1.5 kilometres) of the peninsula will require immediate protection. This will consist of the preparation of a budget for the short term works using unit prices for each component and their respective quantities,” the Minister said.
He further noted that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has agreed to provide financial support on the submission of a detailed budget by the Ministry, as well as provide more support when all environmental issues have been settled.
Other agencies involved in the study include the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the National Land Agency, Airports Authority of Jamaica, the Jamaica Coast Guard and the University of the West Indies.
The peninsula or the tombolo, as it also called, serves as an effective breakwater, forming a deep spacious coastal lagoon in the Kingston harbour. It blocks Caribbean swells and waves from entering the harbour in full force.
It also serves to reduce the impact of hurricanes, which often approach from the southeast end of the island.
Noting the negative impact the passage of hurricane Ivan had on the Palisadoes shoreline, Minister Pickersgill said that the Government signed an agreement with UNEP to provide technical support for a technical co-operation agreement, aimed at protecting the Palisadoes and other vulnerable areas along Jamaica’s coastline.
In this regard, the Government approved a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year, in which the Palisadoes peninsula was identified as a priority area.
Minister Pickersgill urged citizens to assist in protecting the environment. “Too many persons are using our gullies as dumping grounds; and too many persons are constructing their homes near to water ways.Protection of our environment is not just the responsibility of the Government, but it must be the concern of all Jamaicans,” he stressed.