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Members of the public have until December 3 to submit written comments to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) on the proposed construction of the new Houses of Parliament Building at National Heroes Park in St. Andrew.

This follows the public presentation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), conducted by Environmental Solutions Limited (ESL), during a virtual public consultation on the project on November 12.

Comments may be submitted to the Applications Secretariat Branch of NEPA at 10 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5, or via electronic mail to applications@nepa.gov.jm.

Manager of the Applications Secretariat Branch at NEPA, Miguel Nelson, said that the EIA was requested, after the revision and screening of the information submitted by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), to support the application for an Environmental Permit.

Mr. Nelson said that integral to the EIA process is the requirement for a mandatory public meeting or consultation to provide interested individuals, groups and/or stakeholders an opportunity to have a say in the decision-making process.

He said that all comments received by the agency will be collated and sent to the applicant for responses.

Mr. Nelson noted that “no final decision has yet been made on the application submitted” and that “the outcome of the meeting will be submitted to the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) to guide the decision-making”.

ESL was contracted by Design Collaborative Limited – the firm that won the design competition for the new Parliament Building – to conduct the EIA.

For her part, Manager of Environmental Management Services at ESL, Dr. Theresa Rodriquez-Moodie, said that background research, data collection, field assessments, social consultations and the analysis of the data to determine impacts and suggest feasible mitigation measures where necessary were among approaches used to conduct the EIA.

“Based on the findings of the EIA, it is the consultant’s professional opinion that once the recommended mitigation measures are followed and implemented, the project is not likely to result in significant environmental impacts,” said Dr. Rodriquez-Moodie.

She further pointed out that with the future development plans for the general area, consideration should be given to improving the water supply, sewage and general solid waste management of the area; traffic management as well as the use of permeable parking spaces, rooftop green spaces, rainwater harvesting and solar energy.

The full EIA report can be viewed at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library; Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation; Cross Roads Police Station; Cross Roads Post Office; NEPA’S Documentation Centre at 11 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5; UDC’s website www.udcja.com; NEPA’s website www.nepa.gov.jm and ESL’s website www.eslcaribbean.com.

Construction of the new Parliament building is expected to begin in 2021 and forms part of the National Heroes Park Redevelopment and Government Campus Project, which is a component of a master plan to redevelop downtown Kingston.

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