Fri | Jun 23, 2017

Editorial | Surprise us, KSAMC!

Published:Saturday | March 18, 2017 | 3:00 AM

The Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) should stun residents of the city and show that it is doing something about the garage nuisance at Cortina Close.

The situation of the existing garage in a residential neighbourhood and the antisocial behaviour triggered by those who frequent the premises was highlighted in a recent letter to the editor. The citizen, who has admitted to writing various letters to the KSAMC, does not hold out hope for a resolution since all his pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

Cortina Close is one of several streets in the nation's capital where businesses have been established in contravention of the law, to the annoyance of residents who are thereby prevented from enjoying the peace and calm of their home and community.

Cars are regularly repaired on sidewalks, and vehicles with 'for sale' signs are parked indiscriminately wherever there is space. Some of these illegally operated businesses pose danger to life. We can think back to the 2016 explosion at an unauthorised gas-filling plant in eastern St Andrew, which had deadly consequences for several persons.

This dangerous business existed in a well-populated community, even though its operation was prejudicial to public safety. Could this be a case in which the KSAMC was derelict in its duty to protect citizens from an environmental nuisance?

 

LACK OF REGULATION

 

Kingston is a largely unregulated city. We live in modern times when home-operated businesses have boomed, and this has confounded attempts at zoning. However, such businesses should not rise to the level where they disturb others. In the several districts of Kingston and St Andrew, vendors can set up a business on any street corner. Garages, shops and other businesses are erected at any location that the operator chooses because there are no consequences.

Construction noises continue way into the night. Party noise rumbles into morning hours. The effect is that all over the nation's capital, there are disturbances that adversely affect thousands of people.

Kingston is a dirty city. If the KSAMC is really serious about cleaning up the city, we implore it to start by removing all campaign signs left over from the general and local government elections held in February and November, respectively, 2016.

Streets are teeming with garbage. In defiance of the law, men urinate wherever they feel the urge.

Crime thrives in neglected and derelict neighbourhoods. If streets are pockmarked with potholes that are left to gather water and breed mosquitoes, and unsightly verges are ignored, and garbage litters the streets, criminals will find haven in such areas because the message being sent is that no one really cares.

A lawsuit may be the only way to abate nuisance where it has gone on for many years, but how many people can afford to initiate such action? And how long would it take to be resolved?

The KSAMC and the Government must take note of the recent list of city rankings around the world and consider why Kingston falls at 153rd of 231 cities considered by the Quality of Living survey and to plan how to ameliorate the sombre picture painted by our dismal performance.