Fri | Mar 22, 2019

No mass destruction - UDC chairman seeks to allay fears of residents about Heroes Circle project

Published:Thursday | July 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
From left: Moderator Dionne Jackson Miller; panellists Dr Damion Graham; Andrene Mclaren; Carol Narcisse; and Carl Chen at the RJRGLEANER Communiications Group town hall meeting held at the Wolmer's Boys School on Tuesday night to discuss the redevelopment of the National Heroes Circle.

Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Ransford Braham sought to dispel fears expressed at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night that the mass destruction of buildings and displacement of some residents would result from the planned development of National Heroes Circle and its environs.

Braham, however, reasoned that it is inevitable that there will be some destruction of buildings if the area is to be redeveloped.

"The UDC accepts that there are excellent people living in the surrounding community, [and] we accept that the condition of the surrounding community needs to be improved, and the people deserve it," said Braham.

"We believe that this development, if done properly, can be a win-win for the community. That is the promise of the UDC and the Government ... to ensure that the people and the country benefit," Braham, who is also a government senator, told concerned stakeholders during the RJRGLEANER town hall meeting held at the Wolmer's Boys School auditorium.

"There will not be any wholesale bulldozing of Jamaicans out of their community," the UDC chairman stated.

"However, in order for us to improve, there will have to be some changes. In order to bring some changes, it means that we have to talk to you when we are ready. It doesn't make sense coming to talk to you and we don't know where we are going to put you," Braham explained, mentioning that the plans for the area were not detailed enough for that information to be presented to the residents.

As it relates to how the Government would be acquiring the property, the UDC chairman advised the gathering that the Cabinet would have to consider the approach to be taken.

During the meeting, it was mentioned that there were empty parcels of land in the area that the Government would target for use as a temporary area for housing as the development works commenced. It is expected that the redevelopment process will take as long as a decade to be completed.