Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Stop order on Dovecot expansion

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2020 | 12:22 AM

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has issued notice of intention to suspend the permit awarded to Kumanda Park Limited, operators of the Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine, for the controversial expansion of the burial site.

The notice was issued on Monday after St Catherine West Central Member of Parliament Christopher Tufton intervened last Wednesday in a long-standing dispute between operators of Dovecot and the residents who had voiced their opposition to the 72-acre expansion.

Residents have consistently expressed concern about the safety of underground water systems and dust nuisance associated with the expansion and traffic congestion on St Johns Road on funeral days.

In a letter to Kumanda Park, NEPA called for the immediate suspension of the permit issued in 2013 until 11 breaches identified are remedied, including the failure to establish two monitoring wells south and southeast of the property prior to the commencement of operations. Other stipulations include the clearance of vegetation on a phased basis in order to reduce soil exposure, and the triannual submission of monitoring reports to the agency.

Tufton told The Gleaner that the communities wanted full ventilation of their concerns with NEPA, the municipal corporation, and the operators of the facilities.

“The concerns of the residents are sufficiently significant to the expansion plan for the facilities. In their exploration, a look should be taken at some of the decisions taken by NEPA and, of course, my own ministry before I was a part of it,” Tufton stated.

Peter Knight, CEO of NEPA, declined comment.

Kumanda Park’s Marcia Bernard has 21 days to apply for a hearing on the matter.

– Ruddy Mathison