Regional

No dialogue about Falmouth's development — Trelawny Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, February 08, 2018

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — President of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, Delroy Christie, says while his association welcomes the recent announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness regarding the development of Falmouth, he is disappointed that the local business community has not been a part of the planning process.

“We welcome the announcement by the prime minister. That is what we have been advocating for a long time, but we have not been contacted. Our members are uncertain as to what is happening,” Christie told the Jamaica Observer West earlier this week.

He argued that the business community will be greatly impacted by any development in Falmouth, and as such, members should be contacted on developmental plans for the area.

“It would be good if these things [development plans] would be shared with the business sector, because we need to know how to plan and structure our businesses. But there is no information and so we are left in the dark,” said Christie.

During a tour of the Trelawny capital last month, Holness announced the development of a new town centre for the historic town of Falmouth, to be sited on a 50-acre parcel of land, arguing that the development will transform the seaside town into the gem of the Caribbean.

He revealed also that government and commercial buildings are to be built on the land, which will accommodate the new town centre.

“What we want to do is to create a new town centre for Falmouth, and we have identified 50 acres of land which are adjoining [the existing town], which we plan to develop, using the Morant Bay model, which we are doing with the Good Year factory. We will start the nucleus of that new town centre by putting all the Government buildings there, which would also include the parish council [municipal corporation], and possibly we would move the court house and other important civic services there,” the prime minister announced following the tour.

He said work to improve a perennial problematic drainage system in the town, as well as the development of a central sewage system, will accompany the establishment of the new town centre.

“There is one major piece of infrastructure work which the Government will have to take on, and that is the drainage for Falmouth.

He added that “Falmouth currently does not have a proper sewage system, and so any new development has to take sewage into account ......so there will be a new sewage system.

The prime minister noted that in 2009 the Government of Jamaica, through the Port Authority, made a significant investment in developing “this lovely pier and facilities that are associated”.

But he remarked that “the challenge is the pier and the facilities are literally cut off from the rest of the town”.

“Because the rest of the town is not in keeping with the standard of this facility, and what that does is to literally create a fence between this lovely investment and the town of Falmouth, which has so much great potential. So, what we are trying to do, with the Port Authority and other agencies, is to ensure that brand Jamaica, which is what attracts the tourists here, is beneficial to all Jamaicans who create brand Jamaica in any way,” Prime Minister Holness stated.

in the meantime, Christie is calling on the authorities to have dialogue with the local business community, pointing out that the chamber has been calling for the development of a commercial area, because the existing town centre of Falmouth has “a serious parking problem.”

“The business people here can't function, the gas stations here can't function, as well as other businesses, because there is no place for people to walk and drive. You want to get the traffic away from downtown Falmouth, and put it in a new area with available parking spaces,” he argued.

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