St. James PC Steps up Removal of Illegal Signs


Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Parish Council, Councillor Charles Sinclair, is currently leading an operation to remove all illegal signs, in violation of regulations governing their exhibition, from the town of Montego Bay.
The operation got underway on Monday (April 26) and is being carried out in collaboration with the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF). It has already been reaping success with over $250,000 collected and a 75 per cent compliance rate recorded.
The target areas included St. James Street, Barnett Street, Gloucester Avenue and all other major streets, especially within the town centre, with plans to include the rural townships across the parish soon.
Secretary/Manager of the Council, Mr. Winston Palmer, told JIS News that businesses across the city responsible for the signs were contacted and checked, to ensure that they were complying with the necessary regulations under the Town and Country Planning Act.
“The danger posed to members of the public with regards to these overhanging signs, that should be securely installed and bolted according to regulations, and the reluctance of the majority of the persons in breach, has forced the Council to resort to serving notices or to take down such signs,” he said.
“Businesses are required to pay for their signs on an annual basis, and they are expected to pay as soon as they become due and also to make other adjustments to these signs, where necessary”, Mr. Palmer told JIS News.
He advised that, under the guidelines, the Council has specific rules that govern the erection and display of each sign, which is geared to ensuring public safety.
“We intend on doing the streets within the city of Montego Bay, such as St. James Street, Gloucester Avenue, Barnett Street, Humber Avenue and all other streets where businesses are located as well as out in the rural areas. If we enforce the regulations, we can have the financial and other resources to provide the services necessary for the effective operations of the town,” Mr. Palmer argued.
The St. James Parish Council has also continued its vigilance, beginning in early April, by serving notices on several property owners found to be in breach of the town’s Nuisance Prevention Act. This is after it was discovered that certain buildings housed on their properties were dilapidated and posed serious threat to public safety. Seven derelict buildings have since been identified as ‘major concerns’ and notices served on owners.
“After waiting for such a lengthy period, it is fitting that we move decisively where it concerns these properties, as we had promised last year that the Council would be looking to have the owners make improvements to their buildings for greater public safety and the overall aesthetics and general outlook of the city,” Mayor Sinclair told JIS News.

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