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JIS News

A comprehensive development plan for the Old Harbour Bay fishing Village should become available for stakeholder and public scrutiny by mid-February. The plan will act as a guide for the type of development to take place in the area. This was announced by Secretary Manager in the St. Catherine Parish Council, Michael Morris at the recent opening ceremony of a safety exposition at the Old Harbour Fishing village in St. Catherine.
The plan, which was commissioned last year, is also expected to provide a signal for the start of a slew of public consultation looking and seeking answers on development in the area.
Speaking with JIS News he explained that since the Parish Development Committee would be assuming responsibility for the development of the area it would be best to have a development plan in place. He said however that residents and users of the fishing beach should have no reason to be worried. “All it is going to do is bring them into a more focused location,” he said.
Presently, the area is like an unofficial settlement and what the St. Catherine Parish Development committee intends to do is go in and formalize the settlement. “We’re going to go in and set up the shops where they should be and the people who are selling or vending things other than sea food in a proper way,” he said.
The development plan is a collaborative initiative with stakeholders including the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environmental Protection Association (NEPA). Mr. Morris pointed out that the St. Catherine Parish Development Committee would be doing the development plan and passing it over to the MOH and NEPA for their comments.
“All the relevant stakeholders the Social Development Commission, the Parish Development Committee, just about everybody you can think of is going to get a copy of that report and then we’ll finalize it hopefully by the end of March,” he informed.
One major concern to the process is the proper disposal of waste including solid waste. “All of these things will be taken care of and there will be no use of pits,” he said as this was something the health department had insisted on. “The solid waste management people, he continued, will advise as to what type of disposal method will be used and how much clean-up is needed,” he added.
Co-operation from the residents is going to be critical and Mr. Morris noted that a special effort was going to be made to include them in the dialogue and the process. “All we need from the residents is the co-operation, for them to help us, be with us and not humbug the process,” he stressed.
Mr. Morris pointed out that because it was going to cost quite a bit, the whole process would have to be done in phases beginning with regularizing the existing situation and then going step by step. “We’re not going to be seeing anything higher than a two storey building but when it’s done everyone should be proud” he said.