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JIS News

A massive relocation exercise is being planned by the St. Catherine Parish Council, for all commercial activity taking place at the Old Harbour Bay Fishing Village.
This as the Council plans to reclaim the beach for the exclusive use of the area’s fisher folk.
Notice of the impending relocation came to light at a recent JIS town meeting, which was held at the Old Harbour Bay Primary School.
Commercial Services Manager at the St. Catherine Parish Council, Ferdinand Page, told JIS News that the exercise is one to specifically ‘free-up’ the beach for use by fishers and remove the numerous bars, shops and other commercial buildings now illegally located there. Plans are far advanced he added and space has been identified at the nearby market for those to be relocated.
“We’re re-constructing the shed and rehabilitating the bathroom and laying a surface in the market. After that the relocation will take place. It’s just a matter of completing the roofing, which I would imagine would take another few days and then the notices – we usually put out notices to give them sufficient time,” he explained.
He further said that the layout plan complete with proposed designs was already completed and that persons relocated from the beach area would be responsible for constructing their shops in the new location, as they were warned against building on the beach.
“They constructed all of those on the beach without our permission despite notices advising them not to construct without permission of (the) Council. We are not demolishing them in the first instance. We are giving them the opportunity to relocate and have an orderly transition,” he said.
Mr. Page pointed out that after the passage of Hurricane Dean, the Council spent millions of dollars clearing all the debris and posted notices advising persons not to re-construct buildings there. These notices were however ignored. “The Council now has to take a stand for their (fishers) own protection and to get a formal system established,” he said.
Currently, the Parish Council has a complete layout for the reconstructed commercial area, of which the Councillor for the area has a copy and which is available for all affected persons to peruse.
In the meantime, a tender has gone out for reconstruction of the beach front, to facilitate the fishers. The Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, is currently accepting tenders and the Parish Council will be working closely with the Division to ensure the requisite infrastructure.