Road repairs to start soon, says Spanish Town mayor
The St Catherine Municipal Council is to embark on a parish-wide road patching programme this month to address the poor state of roadways which has made access to a number of places cumbersome and expensive for motorists and passengers.
In making the announcement at a Gleaner Municipal Corporation Forum on Monday, Mayor Norman Scott said the rehabilitation was absolutely necessary but was being done against a background of serious fiscal constraints.
"Although we (municipal councils) currently own about 90 per cent of the total road network in Jamaica, as it relates to the total budget for road repairs we only get about 10 per cent of that amount of funds for infrastructural work. So it is very, very challenging as it relates to prioritising which road to patch, which road we can do some rehabilitation on," he told the audience at the Social Development Commission's office.
The road patching will start in the capital Spanish Town, moving to other majors towns of Linstead and Old Harbour and then to some rural communities.
Mayor Scott did not divulge the amount of money earmarked for the repairs but said that his administration had inherited a situation wherein communities such as Spanish Town, Hampton Green, Greendale, Sydenham and Willowdene were handicapped by poor infrastructural networks, which would be difficult to retrofit.
"These communities were built in the 1960s by the some persons who were blind because they did not have futuristic insight as to how to construct a housing scheme - no drain whatsoever, all they did was cut some roads and sell some lots," he argued.
"Now we are saddled with the responsibility of trying to put some infrastructure in. What is happening is that the lands would have absorbed the rain water, all of those areas are filled with houses now because there is nowhere to drain it. There was no drainage before. These were empty lots and the rain water would have been absorbed into the earth, now the areas have been built up with houses - no drainage, the roads are eroded," Mayor Scott charged.
The mayor who is also chairman of the St Catherine Municipal Council said he has refused to sign off on two housing developments, until the investors can show how the issue of rainwater runoff and other environmental concerns will be addressed.