Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Development approvals not informed by research - engineer

Published:Thursday | December 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Jacqueline daCosta

The development approval process at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSMC) has come in for serious criticism from a senior engineer as well as a private consultant.

Dr Wayne Reid, director of Jentech Consultants Limited, a civil engineer consultancy firm, said that there was a problem with development approvals in the Corporate Area.

He pointed to several residential and commercial facilities currently being developed in St Andrew without any proper research on the impact these will have on the water-supply network and the capacity of the sewerage system to deal with new developments. "Just look at the roads around them, which are now packed, and these places are going to spew out more cars on a daily basis," Reid added.

Jacqueline daCosta, management, policy, land, and planning consultant, argued that one of the major problems affecting Jamaica's infrastructure was the inadequate drainage facilities to accommodate increased housing developments.

"Whenever a developer does a scheme and it will affect drainage, the developer should contribute to a drainage fund to be used to improve drainage over time," said daCosta, noting that more than two decades ago, a recommendation was made to establish a fund for that purpose.

"We have a whole lot of developments taking place and no one has done the necessary research in relation to traffic generation, additional water requirement, and sewerage and garbage collection," she said.

The land, policy, and planning consultant charged that there was a serious problem with corruption in Jamaica as it related to the building-approval process.

According to daCosta, many of the developments that have not been supported by proper research were encouraged by politicians. "There are many technical people in Government who are afraid to tell their ministers, or whoever, no!"

Reid and daCosta were panellists at a workshop organised by Global Reporters for the Caribbean at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. The workshop addressed climate change and disaster mitigation issues.