JIS News

KINGSTON — Some 97 per cent of building applications were approved during 2010/2011, through the simplification of the process and reduced approval timeline.

The 97 per cent represents a six-per cent increase in the approval of planning/building applications, compared to 2009/2010.

Of the 5,877 planning/building applications approved during the period, 5,706 were processed within the 90-day target period.

This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Hon Robert Montague, at a media Round Table at the Department, Hagley Park Road, Kingston on Tuesday June 14.

According to the Department of Local Government, when compared to the 13 per cent 90-day target timeline approval of subdivision applications, this data suggests that when local authorities have greater autonomy, the building application process is less disjointed, as it involves fewer departments and agencies.

Mr. Montague also indicated that, in an effort to address the matter of each developer having to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) even when properties are adjoining, the reform process is seeking to have the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and other stakeholder agencies, conduct EIAs for specific areas/zones, instead of individual properties.

“For example, we are trying to zone the country into economic blocks…so if you know that this (area) is zoned for a tourism area, (then) you would know what kind of sewerage system is needed,” he said.

Mr. Montague said this is all part of the approach to the 20-year sustainable development plan for the country.

He further referred to the parish visioning symposia held last year, as part of this plan.

“We got delegates from all the NGOs and the Government entities, in partnership with the PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica), and we heard from the people, and we are now fitting their views within the broad national objective of vision 2030. So, we are working in tandem with them, and we are canvassing the views locally, so that at the end of the day, you we will have information on a particular zone, saving the developer from doing an individual EIA and (other studies), because that would all be done,” he outlined.