The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) now has responsibility for the sustainability of the $1.3-billion Port Royal Street Coastal Revetment Project, which is designed to safeguard the corridor from continued erosion and the effects of storm surges.
The project, which was implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and completed in March 2022, was officially handed over to Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during a ceremony held at the Breezy Castle Sports Centre in downtown Kingston on Wednesday (May 18).
It comprised the implementation of one kilometre of composite seawall and armour stone revetment structure, upgrading of drainage features, rehabilitation and raising of one kilometre of existing roadway and installation of a 4.7-metre-wide boardwalk to improve the site’s aesthetics and promote recreational activity along the shoreline.
An 80-metre fishing beach was also created for fisherfolk in the area who currently berth their vessels along the shoreline.
The redeveloped corridor spans the coastline from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade building to the Rae Town Fishing Village.
Mr. Holness informed that the KSAMC will have general management of the project, and, in collaboration with the relevant agencies, will do what is necessary to ensure that the investment is protected.
He noted that the municipal corporation will be responsible for attracting investment in the area that will assist in the revitalisation of downtown Kingston.
“Bringing back life into the boardwalk is going to be the role of KSAMC. What they do in terms of encouraging commerce along the boardwalk, in terms of having businesses being set up along the boardwalk, in terms of permitting for concerts and other activities, all those things are going to be important, including ensuring that the fishing village is clean and accessible.
The Prime Minister said the work on this major thoroughfare has not only resulted in a much better organisation of the traffic in the eastern end of Kingston “but the greater effect is the aesthetic improvement of the area. It just looks so much better; it gives a sense as if Kingston is finally coming alive as a city. Kingston is finally starting to make tiny baby steps to fulfill its true potential”.
Mr. Holness noted that the $1 billion invested in the revetment work, is a small expenditure relative to the benefit that will accrue from the project in terms of disaster resilience.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister congratulated the JSIF on its “good administration and oversight” of the project, as well as the contractors for the work done.
For his part, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams said the city is proud of the project, noting that the municipality has engaged with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) to plant and maintain trees along the corridor.
Mr. Williams said that the project “will encourage people to walk along (the boardwalk, and that was part of the idea – to encourage exercise”.
He praised the JSIF for doing a “wonderful job with respect to the planning from start to finish, to the implementation of this project. Kudos to JSIF,” he said.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange; Peoples National Party Caretaker for Kingston Central, Imani Duncan-Price, who represented Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding; Chairman of the JSIF, Dr. Wayne Henry; and Managing Director of the JSIF, Omar Sweeney, also gave remarks during the event.
Implemented over a two-year period, the Port Royal Street Coastal Revetment Project forms part of several infrastructure projects of the JSIF’s World Bank-funded Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) which seeks to enhance Jamaica’s resilience to negative climate-change impacts.