Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Collapse fears - Alarm over derelict downtown as building crumbles

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2016 | 6:00 AMPaul Clarke
This woman and a student are forced to walk in the street to avoid this derelict building on Sutton Street in Kingston, a section of which collapsed yesterday.

Town clerk at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), Robert Hill, said yesterday's partial collapse of a derelict building along Sutton Street in downtown Kingston, shows the extent of the challenge facing the corporation, as it seeks to rid the city of these dangerous edifices.

"To this particular case, we have served notice on the owner and will be posting a notice for its demolition within 24 hours, as this is a very clear case of negligence," Hill said.

"But we face some challenges, as we try to identify owners of some of these buildings, many of which are outdated in their form of construction and are posing real dangers for persons in and around them," he said.

The partially collapsed building, which was used in the past as a bookshop, is located across from the St Aloysius Primary School and could pose further risk to students and other commuters.

The KSAC has repeatedly said it would be moving to deal with derelict buildings in the city.

 

ENDANGERING CITIZENS

 

Many buildings in the downtown area of Kingston have fallen into disrepair over time and are posing serious threats to life, Hill reasoned.

Tuesday's collapse happened during a bout of heavy winds, which has been a feature of a weather system over parts of Kingston since early yesterday morning.

Debris from the fallen structure narrowly missed two pedestrians as they made their way along the roadway.

Hill said the KSAC had been trying to find the legal owners of such buildings in order to serve them with demolition notices. But he said that work already done with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) in helping to reinvigorate that part of the city was paying off.

Several derelict buildings and empty lots have been sold by the UDC in recent years as part of the renewal process in downtown Kingston.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com