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  • Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says 14 beaches across the island are being targeted for initial development under the Ministry’s programme to create recreational public spaces at locations, like those.
  • The project aims to develop and provide public beaches with recreational facilities, to which locals and visitors alike will have unrestricted access, free of cost
  • Facilities expected to be provided include: children’s play areas; seating with tables; picnic areas and gazebos; restrooms and changing rooms; adequate parking; lifeguard towers; and utilities, inclusive of running water and electricity.

Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says 14 beaches across the island are being targeted for initial development under the Ministry’s programme to create recreational public spaces at locations, like those.

He made the announcement while addressing tourism stakeholders and other stakeholders at a recent forum in Montego Bay.

The project aims to develop and provide public beaches with recreational facilities, to which locals and visitors alike will have unrestricted access, free of cost.

Facilities expected to be provided include: children’s play areas; seating with tables; picnic areas and gazebos; restrooms and changing rooms; adequate parking; lifeguard towers; and utilities, inclusive of running water and electricity.

It is being jointly undertaken with the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

In announcing the project during his 2014/15 Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament, last May, Dr. McNeill advised that just over $250 million was earmarked for expenditure during the period, on the first six beaches identified.

These include: Burwood Beach in Trelawny, where he said work was “most advanced”; Providence Park Beach, Montego Bay which he indicated was at the tendering stage; while design work was being “completed” for Norman Manley Beach Park in Negril, Westmoreland.

He advised that Treasure beach in St. Elizabeth, as well as beaches at Salem, St. Ann, and Boston, Portland, had also been identified for similar upgrading.

Speaking at the Montego Bay stakeholders meeting, Dr. McNeill, in highlighting the Ministry’s “longstanding concerns” regarding challenges with persons, particularly locals experienced in accessing several of the island’s beaches, reiterated that the endeavour aims facilitate them on “some of the finest beaches in the island.”

“Years ago…you would be driving along and decide you want to stop at a beach…(and) there were (many) more areas (then, compared to now) where you could just go and swim. It is our feeling that there must be places across the length and breadth of this island where people can go…and have access to the best beaches in the country,” the Minister stated.

He re-stated his commitment made during the Sectoral Debate to work with NEPA, along with Members of Parliament, and other key stakeholders, “in identifying more (beaches) as we go along (implementing this) continuous programme.”

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