JIS News

Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, has re-affirmed the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s (KSAC) intention to clamp down on the operators of illegal garages in the Corporate Area, commencing in Patrick City as of Thursday, May 27.He said the KSAC would be collaborating with the National Solid Waste Management Authority, which would be providing manpower and the necessary equipment to remove motor vehicles from the illegally operated garages.
Addressing yesterday’s (May 11) monthly press briefing in downtown Kingston, the Mayor pointed out that the decision to commence in the Patrick City/Gardens area stemmed from the “high percentage of illegal garages” in the area.
Furthermore, Mr. McKenzie said a survey has shown that “millions of dollars worth of damage” has been done to the road network because of these operations. He said the Council “is looking at ways and means to ensure that perpetrators pay for the damages done to the roads”.
In addition to the fact that these garages were operating in residential communities, there were also environmental concerns raised by the improper disposal of waste oil and motor vehicle batteries, the Mayor said.
Mr. McKenzie informed that the decision has received endorsement from the Association of Private Garage Owners and Operators, adding that before the week’s end, notices would be placed in the print and electronic media advising the general public to refrain from taking their vehicles to such establishments, as when the lockdown operations begin, all vehicles found that are being repaired, would be confiscated.
“It is not just about going there to say to them you are operating illegally; the notices will be placed in the papers and these operators will be given notice so when we go there we are not going to shake hands.. this operation is similar to the billboard removal,” the Mayor warned.
Commenting on the issue of persons relieving themselves in public areas, Mayor McKenzie said discussions are advanced with Minister of State in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Harry Douglas, to decide on a proper location for public sanitary conveniences in the Constant Spring/Manor Park area of St. Andrew, as this was one of the entry points to the city, and also to facilitate users of the plazas in that area.
He reported that the KSAC would be undertaking the re-opening of seven public sanitary conveniences in selected sections of the Corporate Area – Princess Street, Matilda’s Corner (Liguanea), Grants Pen, Darling Street in Spanish Town, Nine Miles in Bull Bay, Golden Spring, and in Shortwood Square, St. Andrew.
Mayor McKenzie pointed out that persons using the facilities would be required to pay a fee as the KSAC, on its own, would not be able to carry out the necessary repairs and maintain the amenities. He said the Corporation would also be taking steps shortly to sanitize the areas surrounding St. William Grant Park and Mandela Park, and would be soliciting the services of the rapid response water unit.
Meanwhile, Mayor McKenzie announced that some $9 million would be spent in 23 divisions on drain cleaning, commencing the end of this month. For gullies in the Corporate Area, Mayor McKenzie noted that they were “desperately in need of serious repair and cleaning”.
He said an estimate covering the repair of 10 such gullies was put at about $35 million, and that representation would be made to the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Finance and the National Works Agency on the matter.
While conceding that the $35 million was not enough to deal fully with the state of the gullies, Mr. McKenzie said it “would serve to make a difference”.
“If we can save lives and property, let us do it now; $35 million is a drop in the bucket,” he stated. The Mayor said that already, persons had reported flooding, as a result of recent heavy rains, adding that the Council would like to be in a position to make life much easier for persons living in close proximity to the gullies by minimizing flooding. He also expressed his intention to go on a tour of the gullies next week.

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