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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2021/22 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 18.
  • He pointed out that over the years, the area has been affected by many issues, including uncoordinated development, traffic congestion, inadequate parking, lack of public open space and landmarks, and improper solid waste collection and disposal.
  • He said that over the years, the Constant Spring area has experienced an increase in development and, like Half-Way Tree, has come under extreme pressure in terms of land-use conflicts, transportation and traffic issues, insufficient parking, solid waste disposal challenges, lack of green space, among other issues.

The Government will be promulgating a new Protected Areas Act to enable the creation and regulation of a National Protected Areas System (NPAS) that is representative of Jamaica’s biological and cultural heritage.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2021/22 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 18.

He said that the legislation will include harmonised provisions for the management of private lands in protected areas under a new comprehensive statute, while at the same time preserving specific statutory functions under other enactments.

He reported that the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), in consultation with partner agencies, has so far selected 15 areas that are proposed for protection.

“Some of these lands are under private ownership, while others are owned by various arms of government. There are no distinctions made in law regarding who the land is owned by for the declaration of protected areas,” he pointed out.

The Prime Minister told the House that there are several incentives, partnership and acquisition options that are available to the Government to work with private owners to ensure that these sites are effectively managed and protected.

These include acquisition, tax and other incentives, and exchanges/swaps of land.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness told the House that he has directed NEPA, in collaboration with the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and other stakeholders, to prepare master plans for the Half-Way Tree and Constant Spring Road local planning areas.

He said that Half-Way Tree “is a major commercial node and there is now a need to make it a smart, sustainable, resilient, technology-driven and a model 21st century inclusive community”.

He pointed out that over the years, the area has been affected by many issues, including uncoordinated development, traffic congestion, inadequate parking, lack of public open space and landmarks, and improper solid waste collection and disposal.

“The preparation of the master plan will provide a holistic and sustainable approach to land-use planning and address issues relating to building densities, heights, economy, physical and social infrastructure and protection of the natural environment,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted that the Constant Spring corridor adjoins or is in close proximity to the centrally located Half-Way Tree local planning area, hence providing the synergy to plan for both areas.

He said that over the years, the Constant Spring area has experienced an increase in development and, like Half-Way Tree, has come under extreme pressure in terms of land-use conflicts, transportation and traffic issues, insufficient parking, solid waste disposal challenges, lack of green space, among other issues.

The expected outcomes with efficient management are detailed spatial planning policies, proposed land use zoning and model plans; increased density and heights in selected areas; increased investment, employment and economic growth/development; protection of existing residential amenities and creation of mixed-use choices; provision of developed and interconnected green/open spaces; greater pedestrianisation and landscaping; and improved infrastructure and service facilities.

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