JIS News

Jamaicans are being implored to seek approval and advice from the local authorities for their building projects to ensure that proper development practices are being observed.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, in making the appeal said that failure to get the necessary building approvals results in irregularities and unplanned developments that threaten lives and property.

“It is not fair to persons, who invest in their homes, to have been subjected to [the consequences of unplanned developments],” he pointed out.

“This is what we do to communities when we impose illegal construction,” he added.

Minister McKenzie was speaking during a tour of communities in Southern Cross in Harbour View, St. Andrew, on Thursday (May 26), where the properties of several residents are being adversely impacted by flooding and drainage issues caused by the construction of permanent structures in improper areas.

He said that the Ministry is working with the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) to develop a strategy to correct the flooding and drainage issues, which destroy infrastructure and pose a credible risk to the safety of affected persons.

Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, who led the tour, also urged persons seeking to build to contact the KSAMC for guidance prior to commencing construction.

“It is impossible to expect the parish council to police every single citizen. It is not possible. The resources are not there for it, so it really requires that each citizen take personal responsibility as well, and when we see our neighbours building in a way that we know is inimical to the life and property of others, you have to say something about it,” she said.

“Citizens associations will have to play a part. If you see more buildings going up, you call the KSAMC,” Mrs. Holness urged.

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