Montego Bay mayor calls for strong action against building breaches
Homer Davis (file photo)
Montego Bay Mayor, Homer Davis, is calling for strong action to be taken against persons who continue to breach planning rules across the parish of St James.
In addressing the 2018 World Town Planning Day opening ceremony at Jewel Grande Resort in Rose Hall, St James recently, Mayor Davis said the breaches are not in keeping with proper town planning, and are also threats to lives and properties.
“The time has come for strong action against those who breach planning rules, build on river banks, failure to adhere to approved plans… and as planners, we need to start looking at these breaches, from the very minor ones to the very obvious ones, and take corrective actions. This is where we live and if we hope to make it the place of choice to live, do business and raise families, we need action, and we must act now,” he stated.
The mayor added that coastal cities such as Montego Bay cannot escape the effects of urban drift as citizens seek employment and places to live. He said the time is right for town planners to take a unified approach in implementing plans and programmes to make urban centres more resilient to these challenges.
“As a coastal township, Montego Bay continues to be impacted by this phenomenon, and the time is right for us all to take a long, hard look at the challenges and come up with a workable solution in the very near future. Urban drift is real, and will continue. We have major developments coming on stream… Those developments will result in citizens moving into the urban centre in search of jobs and, ultimately, living accommodations. Let us use the occasion of celebrating World Town Planning Day to make an impact in the way we organise and plan our communities going forward,” said Davis.
Meanwhile, as the city of Montego Bay approaches the first anniversary of the flooding which took place last November, the mayor urged town planners to play their part in guarding against any recurrence.
“The flooding brought into serious question the integrity of the drainage network in Montego Bay and the effects which urban drift has been having on the township. Developments are unavoidable as we seek to remain relevant in housing construction, expansion of businesses, expansion of the road network and other infrastructure. However, the need for us as city leaders and planners to work in partnership is now more evident than before,” he said.
Davis encouraged town planners to use the observation of World Town Planning Day to recognise and promote the role of planning in creating livable communities.