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Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is advising developers to incorporate the cost of installing proper waste water treatment facilities into their development plans.
“Developers in Jamaica, I find…do not factor off-site infrastructure into their development costs. They plan a nice scheme at a very profitable rate, and then when they get to National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and NEPA says do X or Y, they scratch their heads, (as) it’s going to cost some more…,” he said in his address during a symposium held at the Jamaica Conference Centre downtown Kingston, yesterday (January 26).
“We have to face the fact that if you are doing development in a green field area, then you have to pay the cost to the off-site infrastructure, which must include… water… and you must provide for adequate sewerage treatment,” the Minister added.
The conference was held in preparation for the execution of a US$100 million Kingston Sewerage Development Project, which aims to improve the sewerage systems in sections of Southeast St. Catherine and the northern section of Kingston and St. Andrew (KSA).
Dr. Chang noted that the expansion and improvement of the country’s central waste water treatment facilities is an economic necessity, noting that it is proving costly to treat waste water without the proper infrastructure in place.
The Minister noted that the collection and treatment of waste water has been handled in a very ad hoc manner in the past, therefore the adaptation of good management strategies and proper planning is essential. “What we have to do is to begin to impose the kind of planning and to ensure that we can create a society, in which the infrastructure is designed for sustainable development,” he stated.
Staged by the NWC, the symposium provided stakeholders with an update on the progress of the Kingston Sewerage Development Project. Presentations were done on the design of the proposed KSA and Portmore system improvements. The environmental, social and organisational considerations in relation to the project were also explored.
The project is being funded by the Government of Jamaica, the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).