JIS News

MANDEVILLE – The St. Elizabeth Parish Council is calling on the expertise of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute, as it seeks to improve development planning to mitigate the effects of disasters and preserve the natural environment.

Mayor of Black River, Councillor Jeremy Palmer, said that head of the Institute, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee, Jr. has been invited to address planners, where he will provide them with updated information on areas of the parish that are prone to landslides, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes, which will assist in the building approval process.

“Much of the disasters that we have had here in St. Elizabeth and island-wide have been caused by very poor planning, and people building in gullies and putting large structures on very fragile ecosystems so, I have contacted the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (to attend) a planning seminar in May.

“We are going to invite all of the stakeholders that have to do with planning and have a presentation from the Institute on the data that they have, which we can use to advance the planning process,” Mayor Palmer said.

He noted that the input from the Institute will assist the planning process, as “they are at a stage where they can tell where the big gullies are, the areas that are prone to flooding, how earthquakes could impact a house which is put up in a particular area, where you need to strengthen your defenses, and how storms would impact on particular areas. They have that information and we need to get that into our system."

Mayor Palmer said that the Council will be more rigorous in approving building plans, noting that too often, scare funds have had to be used to clear debris and rescue residents from flooded areas.