Managing Director, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Omar Sweeney, says the Port Royal Street Coastal Revetment Project, which commenced in March 2020, is slated to be completed April 2021, within time and budget.
Speaking to journalists during a tour of the project along Port Royal Street, downtown Kingston, on September 29, Mr. Sweeney said the project will assist in attracting investments and assist in the revitalisation of the downtown Kingston area.
“Overall, this project is integrated with plans the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) have for the downtown redevelopment. We see it as a game changer, because as soon as this project really starts to manifest itself, that will trigger the ideas and the investments,” he said.
Arguing that the redevelopment of downtown Kingston as a thriving business district cannot be contingent on government investment only, Mr. Sweeney urged private-sector investment in the redevelopment of the area.
“Redevelopment cannot happen alone with just public-sector investment. The Government cannot rebuild downtown Kingston alone. There needs to be private-sector investment. Projects such as these demonstrate what is possible,” Mr. Sweeney said.
For his part, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, who also toured the site, said the project’s impact is twofold, as it will prevent further erosion of the shoreline by wave action, while providing a new entertainment space for Jamaicans.
“This is a welcome project. It has multiple benefits. Although its primary purpose is shoreline protection, it will also benefit citizens as a recreational space for Jamaicans,” he said.
The scope of work spans the coastline from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade building to the Rae Town Fishing Village, and will include 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 will also be created for fisherfolk in the area who currently berth their vessels along the shoreline.
The project aims to create protective infrastructure along the Port Royal Street corridor that will safeguard this corridor from the effects of storm surges that have been projected to be impacted by climate change. This corridor is considered an integral part of the east-west transportation network in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA).
The Port Royal Street Coastal Revetment Project is being coordinated by JSIF and implemented under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP), through a loan from the World Bank.