Friday 7 August, 2020

PNP councillor slams building approval process after Kingston floods

Aerial shot of flooded streets in Kingston after heavy rain last week.

Aerial shot of flooded streets in Kingston after heavy rain last week.

Following last week’s flooding of sections of the Corporate Area after a bout of heavy rainfall, which caused a gridlock for hours, People's National Party Councillor for the Trafalgar Division and minority spokesperson on Building and Town Planning, Kari Douglas has slammed elements of the Government’s Building Approval Process.

An incensed Douglas described those elements as outdated.

After a two-hour long shower, sections of Marcus Garvey Drive in the vicinity of the Tinson Pen Aerodrome, was the scene of stranded motorists and vehicles almost covered in water.

Kari Douglas

Douglas criticised the continuing practice by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Council (KSAMC) of issuing building approvals for new, intensive and high density residential and commercial development, without the necessary infrastructural upgrades. 

“The intensive development that is taking place without the necessary upgrades, is placing an outdated infrastructure under serious pressure,” Douglas said.

Douglas recommended that building officers contracted to the KSAMC, conduct preliminary site inspection and thorough area analysis of supporting infrastructure including drainage, to substantiate every building application. 

“Developers and external professionals cannot be relied on to provide the Parish Councils with the necessary reports and recommendations.  In moving forward, government technocrats must act in the public's interest by taking the lead and providing the information and expertise that must form part of the recommendations for any building approval,” she said.

Douglas also recommended commissioning and the production of comprehensive engineering plans for the entire corporate area, in collaboration with the National Works Agency (NWA), to immediately address the upgrading of the archaic drainage systems that clearly, no longer have the capacity to serve the needs of an ever expanding 'capital city'.

Douglas is a land economist, valuation surveyor and real estate dealer at Easton Douglas and Company.

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