KINGSTON — The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) will not approve any construction being considered for the Long Mountain area in Kingston.
"This Council will never consider application in those areas (Jacks Hill, Hope Pastures, Long Mountain), because of the danger that they pose to people living on the plains of the Corporate Area," Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie emphasised, arguing that there must be areas left for trees and open spaces.
Mayor McKenzie was speaking at the monthly meeting of the KSAC, where he gave an update on the building amnesty. The meeting was held today September 13, in the Council Chambers, KSAC, downtown Kingston.
The Mayor said that the spate of flooding being experienced in the Corporate Area is as a result of construction taking place in areas not suitable for development.
"Not because building fees represent a significant portion of the Council’s revenue, that we are going to close our eyes to the reality that the city is in danger, because of the amount of buildings that are being constructed in areas where no approval was granted,” the Mayor emphasised.
"This Council will consider any building application that comes here asking for approval in areas that we deem to be a threat to the environment, but we are not going to approve it. There are some applications that are before us that are going to be controversial and we are willing to take on the fight. But, we have a right to preserve the integrity of the city,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Mayor said there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of building applications made to the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), following extension of an amnesty to contractors who were building without approval.
"To go along with that, we have seen a significant improvement in the building fees collected by the Council during the period of the amnesty and especially in the latter part of August,” the Mayor said.
In July the KSAC extended a six-week amnesty to persons who were building or have had construction done without the approval of the Council.
The Mayor also informed that based on a survey conducted under the amnesty, the KSAC has found over 2,000 breaches on building construction taking place across the city.
"Out of that, a small portion, about 19 per cent, were already captured by the KSAC in terms of our in-house application. The fact is, it is going to take us some time to go through all the information that was captured, but what we have done is to identify a number of breaches that we are now pursuing through the courts. For some of these breaches, notices were served prior to the amnesty and in some cases more than one notice was served on the buildings,” the Mayor pointed out.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter