Tue | May 21, 2019

Industry Cove housing scheme battle heads to court

Published:Monday | October 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMMark Titus/Gleaner Writer
Both parties in the dispute over the planned NHT scheme in Industry Cove, Hanover, wrote to Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Office of The Prime Minister.

Attorneys representing residents of Industry Cove in Hanover will today present their arguments to Justice Judith Pusey as they seek leave for a judicial review of the construction of a sewage plant at a National Housing Trust (NHT) scheme being developed in their community which they allege will discharge effluent into the sea.

The NHT, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Hanover Municipal Corporation, and the Negril Green Island Planning Authority are the respondents.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness broke ground for the 63 units housing solution in August, which is the first NHT project in the parish for more than two decades.

But the residents are contending that the outlet for the human waste into the sea is in the proximity of a public beach that has been serving the community for more than a century.

They claim that fisherfolk and residents, some with properties designated for the hospitality sector, will be affected.

"NEPA did not conduct minimum evaluation of the property to discern if it could sustain such housing without infringing upon the wetlands, coral reef that is located approximately 20 feet out into the sea, and other residents with respect to the environmentally toxic impact on beach use, fishing, health and quality of life, and property values," attorney-at-law Robert Collie wrote to Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Collie, a former director of legal and enforcement at NEPA, is representing the residents.

 

CLAIM REJECTED

 

But Donald Moore, senior general manager for construction and development at the NHT rejected this claim in a letter also sent to Vaz.

"Regarding the matter of the effluent from the proposed sewage treatment plant being discharged into the sea at a public beach, our approved design provides for the disposal of the tertiary treated waste into three infiltration manholes, placed in series within the curtilage of the property.

"The overflow from the third and final infiltration manhole leads to a riprap drain that discharges into the sea and will only be used in cases of extreme weather conditions that results in the overflow of the infiltration manholes," added Moore.

NEPA's decision to grant permits for the project without an environmental impact assessment being done was also questioned by JET, but efforts to get a comment from the NEPA's CEO, Peter Knight, have so far been unsuccessful.