Letter of the Day | UDC projects on a slow boat to China
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I recall complaints by the Construction Industry Council and others about the Chinese domination of the local construction industry each time I pass by two places in downtown Kingston.
Located at the corner of West Queen Street is a zinced up fence at a site of what is supposed to be the rebuilt Jubilee Market at the corner of West Queen Street and West Parade. The other is the zinced up fence at a site of what is supposed to be the Red Rose Fish Market at Heywood Street and Spanish Town Road.
The Urban Development Corporation, in March last year, was reported as saying that the Red Rose Fish Market will benefit from the erection of a single-storey steel-framed building supported on concrete stub columns and external works, including chain-link and block-wall fencing, paving of the sidewalk, as well as drainage and electrical services.
Those works eventually started at the top of this year. The steel frames are up but there appears to be little else to show up to now, despite the relatively small building that is to be constructed.
In the meantime, vendors continue to sell fish for our tables outside the site in rather filthy and unsanitary conditions, including, but not limited to, sewage water running close by at times.
Will there be cost overruns on what the UDC had said is a $40 million project? I often wonder how long it would have taken the Chinese to complete what is a relatively small project.
The Jubilee Market was destroyed by fire in 2009, eight years ago. For years, the area has been fenced with the intention of constructing new facilities, but there is little sign to passersby as to what is happening behind that fence. Again, I wonder how long it would have taken the Chinese to construct those new facilities.
The Chinese did a darn good job at Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston and my bet is that they will meet the timeline set for the widening of the Mandela Highway without cost overruns.
Last year, the UDC said it was stepping up its plans for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, citing the construction of the Red Rose Fish Market and the development of the Jubilee Market, a drop in the bucket in so far as the redevelopment of the capital city is concerned.
Even so, the pace at which they are going leaves much to be desired.