JIS News

The Kingston and St.Andrew Corporation (KSAC) will be going ahead with its plan to remove illegal billboards from downtown Kingston this weekend.”When a lot of persons turn up to open their business places on Monday morning, many of them will not have any signs because we will be removing all of them this weekend and the place will look so different,” said Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie.
Mayor McKenzie, who was speaking at the KSAC’s monthly press briefing on Tuesday (Jan. 11), said that the consideration shown so far by the Council would not be extended, as proprietors had already been given sufficient time to regularize their operations.
Mayor McKenzie said of the 120 business establishments downtown Kingston with billboards, only eight were legal.
Last year, the Council advised the business operators of its intent to remove illegal signs, to which the business community responded by asking for a grace period. Mayor McKenzie pointed out that some seven months had passed without any changes being made and as such, the Council would be moving ahead with its original plan.
Turning to the erection of billboards across the corporate area generally, he said that while there was some improvement, there continued to be a high volume of illegal signs.
Mayor McKenzie further advised that the Council’s decision to refrain from granting applications for the erection of new advertising boards on the Palisadoes strip entering Michael Manley Boulevard was still in effect. He said that for persons who have disregarded the order and have erected signs without the KSAC’s approval, those signs would be removed.
Meanwhile, the entertainment industry has not escaped the KSAC’s scrutiny. According to Mayor McKenzie, most major nightclubs in the corporate area and small theatres were operating in contravention of the law governing places of amusement and in breach of safety regulations.
“Many of these establishments are operating without properly defined exits; they don’t have the requisite equipment for an emergency; and they operate in violation of not just the place of amusement licence but also in terms of the safety measures,” he detailed.
“We can’t have an entertainment industry that is not prepared to comply with the rules and regulations that govern the operations,” he stressed, informing that the KSAC had taken the decision to publish a list of the locations, which have not met the various requirements to hold functions.
“We will be saying to the public, that if you go into these establishments for entertainment, you are going at your own risk,” he noted pointing out that such venues should meet the expectations of the public health and fire departments.
Mayor McKenzie also informed that come next week, the Council would be meeting with the police to advise them of the events for which operators have not applied for amusement licences.
On the matter of the small boards used to advertise events, Mayor McKenzie said that the KSAC was seriously considering whether it should continue to grant further permission for their erection, as many remained in place long after the event had passed and were a major eyesore.
He informed that as at the end of January, all persons making applications for the erection of the advertising boards would be required to pay an additional $2,500 for each board. The $2,500 will be refunded if, after the event has been staged, the boards are removed.

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