McKenzie to iron out issues between Hanover Parish Council, Negril planning body
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says he has summoned representatives of the Negril and Green Island Area Local Planning Authority (NGIALPA) and the Hanover Parish Council (HPC) to a meeting this week to resolve what the council has reported to be long-standing grievances between the two organisations.
The minister made his comments during a press briefing in Lucea, Hanover, on Saturday, following a four-hour meeting with councillors of the HPC and government engineers who are investigating the building collapse at the Royalton Negril hotel last Tuesday, which left five workmen seriously injured.
"I have called a meeting for next week because I know that there are areas of concern between the HPC and NGIALPA. I know that there are areas of grievances that exist there, and I will be meeting with them next week - here in Hanover - to discuss the concerns and to see how best we can work it out, because both organisations are crucial to the development of the parish," McKenzie said.
"The parish council has indicated that there are some developments which they need to sign off on that have been with that body (NGIALPA) for quite a while and it is hampering their progress," he added.
However, outgoing chairman of NGIALPA, Cliff Reynolds, has taken exception to what he says is any impression being given by the Hanover Parish Council that NGIALPA has been tardy or negligent in carrying out its duties.
"Over the years, plans that are submitted to NGIALPA are normally passed on to whether it be the Westmoreland Parish Council, the Hanover Parish Council, or NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) in a very timely manner. And, for them (the parish council) to make a statement that plans would have been held up for approval, it would be so false, because residential plans are normally done within a 90-day period," Reynolds said.
A FALSE STATEMENT
"I can understand that they might be searching for a response to certain things that have been happening, but that is a very false statement, because as it relates to hotels, they would have to wait on NEPA's response before they consider those ... . I have to get feedback from water commission, roads and works, health and fire department. They have to get a variety of feedback from NRCA before they can make a final decision and pass it on," Reynolds said.
Reynolds added that when he demitted office as NGIALPA chairman several weeks ago, there was no backlog of building plans for commercial or hotel submissions, nor were there any complaints made by the council to NGIALPA about tardiness.
"It is mostly hotel plans that we get, and there is no reason for NGIALPA to hold up hotel or commercial plans. For the commercial ones, we have meetings once a month, so after the board meetings a week or so after, those plans are prepared and sent off to the relevant parish councils and NEPA," he said.
"The records are there for public scrutiny. I know in the past where plans were forwarded to the council and [when] the customer goes to make queries or to pay their fees, they are told that nothing was sent; that the plans are not there; yet we verify that they have signed a book receiving those plans. Because of the record-keeping that we do, we have a system that when you get those plans, you have to sign. The records there are quite clear," Reynolds said.