Belnavis has big plans for Ocho Rios
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
Councillor for the Ocho Rios division and Mayor of St Ann's Bay Michael Belnavis expects to succeed where no one else seemed to have succeeded in years past, in getting and keeping Ocho Rios clean.
Belnavis, in an interview with The Gleaner, says other priorities include improving the condition of the market, ensuring communities receive adequate water supply, alleviating traffic congestion in Ocho Rios, among other things.
"One of the main things that we want to do in Ocho Rios, and which was part of our itinerary during the election, was to have a clean resort town, fully repainted and fully landscaped," Belnavis disclosed.
"At the end of the day, not only do we want it to be ideal for locals, but to make it ideal for the tourism product also."
Describing Ocho Rios as the "tourism capital of this hemisphere", Belnavis admitted that there have been many complaints about the state of the town in terms of its looks, but said his approach will create a whole new dimension as it relates to cleanliness and public order.
"Second, we want to look at the condition of the market. The market is in quite a deplorable condition. We're looking to see how we can take care of that in the short term," Belnavis stated.
The mayor said the council will ensure better parking facilities, stalls and facilities for vendors and greater shopping experience for customers.
He also noted that the council will be looking at the possibility of establishing a food court on the market compound to accommodate jerk vendors and others who converge on the streets to sell their food.
Traffic congestion is also to be addressed. One thing on the plate is the turning of Newlin Street into a two-way thoroughfare. Plans are also afoot to ban parking along Graham Street by clamping. Also, no taxicab will be allowed in the market.
"We're going to bring some level of order to the town of Ocho Rios," Belnavis promised.
Belnavis said while garbage collection was no longer the responsibility of the parish council but the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), "we're not shaking ourselves totally of that responsibility, and the reason being, it affects everything else. It comes right back to basic human survival, it helps disease control."
Belnavis says he is urging the business community in Ocho Rios to be more responsible in disposing of their garbage.
Another item on Belnavis' agenda is to install lights at the Buckfield playground and put a management team in place to run the facility, and also to ensure easier beach access to Jamaicans.