Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Cabinet approves relocation of local government ministry

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Desmond McKenzie

Cabinet has approved the relocation of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development from its current location on Hagley Park Road in St Andrew.

This was disclosed by portfolio minister Desmond McKenzie during the recent sitting of the House of Representatives.

He was responding to questions posed by Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government Noel Arscott.

McKenzie indicated that due diligence was done to determine the viability of relocation and the suitability of the proposed site for the new offices.

He noted that technical officers from the ministry evaluated the property, where it was determined that it could comfortably accommodate the staff and equipment of the core ministry and the Board of Supervision.

The ministry is located inside a plaza (The Domes of Hagley), which houses other establishments, including a fast-food franchise, restaurants, a bar, a betting shop, and a massage parlour.

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The businesses attract daily patronage from members of the public, both during and after normal working hours, which, the police have determined, poses a security risk for clients and staff of the ministry.

McKenzie further cited the noise from the other operations and inadequate parking and sewage facilities as reasons that necessitate the relocation of the ministry.

He advised the Lower House that consideration is being given to leasing the existing premises once the relocation has been completed.

He noted that the cumulative size of the two buildings the ministry now occupies is approximately 28,000 square feet, adding that the new location is approximately 40,000 square feet on 1.45 acres of land, with ample parking.

McKenzie said that the cost of the relocation is approximately $130 million.

"This figure, however, includes preliminaries, professional fees, and general contingencies, and the actual estimated cost for building works and equipment is approximately $99 million," he said.

"Of that amount, it is possible to recover air conditioning, security and telecommuni-cations equipment, drywall partitions, and chain-link fencing at an estimated value of approximately $21 million," he noted.

McKenzie said the relocation is being implemented under the ministry's Technical Services and Major Projects Unit - not by an external contractor - and that the relevant work associated with the exercise would be carried out in phases.

The local government minister further told the Lower House that the owner of the new location is Hagley's Auto Supplies Successors Limited.