- Redevelopment work has commenced on the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville, Manchester, to construct 10 kiosks for use by micro, small and medium sized entrepreneurs.
- The kiosks are being built at a cost of approximately $11.2 million (US$100,000).
- The redevelopment project aims to stimulate economic growth and assist in the park’s overall transformation into an inclusive and accessible space, accommodating diverse users.
Redevelopment work has commenced on the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville, Manchester, to construct 10 kiosks for use by micro, small and medium sized entrepreneurs in the town.
The kiosks are being built at a cost of approximately $11.2 million (US$100,000). The project, being spearheaded by the Manchester Parish Council, is the first of seven pilots approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development for implementation in six municipalities under the $2 billion (C$20 million) Government of Canada-funded Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED).
The redevelopment project aims to stimulate economic growth and assist in the park’s overall transformation into an inclusive and accessible space, accommodating diverse users. Construction of the kiosks is scheduled for completion in October.
Ground was formally broken by Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Minister; Mandeville’s Mayor and Manchester Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Brenda Ramsay; and First Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development, Canadian High Commission in Jamaica, Kelly Thompson, during a ceremony at the facility on Thursday (August 21).
In his remarks, Mr. Arscott, in welcoming the redevelopment project, described it as “vitally important”, as it represents an “important step in the development process (in Manchester) by the Manchester Parish Council.”
“It is expected that the park will be a catalyst to promote further development in Mandeville, and to become a focal point for the hosting of events and other social interactions,” he added.
The Minister pointed out that the project is consistent with the provisions of the Manchester Local Sustainable Development Plan, “in recognizing open spaces in Mandeville…as a vital component of sustainable economic development.”
Mr. Arscott advised that local economic development pilot projects have also been identified and approved for implementation in Kingston and St. Andrew, Portmore in St. Catherine, as well as Clarendon, and Westmoreland.
“Local economic development is the process where local authorities work closely with the relevant agencies in central government and the private sector, to build capacity in communities and create economic generating activities. This is how we will meaningfully encourage economic and social transformation (by) local communities maximizing the use of their products and their skills for the benefit of economic activity in their community,” he added.
In her remarks, Mayor Ramsay advised that the park’s development is integral to Manchester’s Local Sustainable Development Master Plan, which was developed over the past six years.
She advised that the Council, through public/partnership engagements, which included inputs form the Manchester Parish Development Committee (MPDC), sought and secured over $17 million to undertake the renovation. Initial work, she said, commenced in February 2011 and was completed three years later.
“The results include: new park benches; brick-paved walkways, decorative metal fencing; shade and ornamental trees; flowers and shrubs; solar lights; historic sign boards; and a modern water feature with lights. The park will serve three functions…a recreational space; a special events space; and a business area (for which) ground (is being broken),” the Mayor outlined, while adding that the plan will guide the parish’s development over the next 20 years.
In this regard, she welcomed CARILED’s implementation in the parish.
“We are grateful for this funding support, through CARILED, to facilitate the development of the business area…in an effort to promote revenue generation and employment opportunities at the local level,” Mrs. Ramsay said.
For her part, Mrs. Thompson, who represented Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Robert Ready, noted that Jamaica has a “particularly strong CARILED presence.”
This, she said, is based on the fact that Jamaica has more advanced local development engagements than most of the other countries benefitting under the programme.
“I am…very impressed with the progress that has been made (with work on the park); it is quite impressive (that it has) moved so quickly. The Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities are pleased to be part of Jamaica’s journey towards sustainable economic growth by working in partnership with Canadian and Caribbean communities, municipalities, and local government,” she stated.
Mrs. Thompson expressed the hope that the development will facilitate “active community participation in the years to come.”
Manchester Parish Development Committee (MPDC) Chairperson, Sally-Ann Corrodus, pledged the organisation’s “full support to the success of this initiative, that promises to deliver on creating both economic and employment opportunities.”
CARILED’s Local Economic Development Officer for Manchester, Phil Rodriques, who also represented National Coordinator, Jennifer Evans, said the Cecil Charlton Park Redevelopment Project is consistent with the local and national economic development and investment plans and priorities.
“The enhancement of the Mandeville town centre will promote the advancement of tourism goals, by providing a pedestrian-friendly environment that will make town centres more accommodating to tourists. The redevelopment of Cecil Charlton Park will provide a common place for community meetings, sporting events, concerts, as well as casual interactions between residents, and will create a greater sense of community, social inclusion and civic pride,” he said.
The Caribbean Local Economic Development Project, which commenced in 2012, is a six year project, focused on local economic development (LED) over 3 phases.
The programme is currently underway in seven Caribbean countries – Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – to develop models of LED that can be shared throughout the region. It aims to partner with 50 local government authorities to support the growth and development of 500 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The project is earmarked for expansion to seven additional countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.
CARILED is being implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA), Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM), and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF).