Mon | Jun 18, 2018

Controversy deepens over Palisadoes entertainment zone status

Published:Monday | January 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
File Traffic build up on the Palisadoes strip on December 31,2017

Former State minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Damion Crawford, is pushing back against an assertion from Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, the current minister in charge of the portfolio, that the venue 7th Harbour, Gun Boat Beach, Palisadoes, was not designated for entertainment.

"The declaration of Fort Rocky as an entertainment zone is restricted to the specific location known as Fort Rocky, which are the ruins of the fort that was constructed after World War II," Grange said.

"The declaration does not include any other place, including the Palisadoes Road, Gun Boat Beach or anywhere along the corridor leading to the Norman Manley International Airport," Grange said in a release.

However, Crawford has pointed to a development alert detailing that 7th Harbour Entertainment Complex, Gun Boat Beach, Palisadoes, was granted an environment approval from the chief executive officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Peter Knight.

Knight also told The Gleaner that the area was not given any approval from NEPA.

Crawford said the concept of the Palisadoes entertainment zone is now under threat because of inaction in several areas.

"The Palisadoes zone was centred on a park-and-shuttle system that was to be serviced by four centralised parking lots, two on Windward Road and two closer to Port Royal. The two areas identified as possibilities on Windward Road were the lot beside Kier and the lot across from Danny's Marina. The two areas close to Port Royal were not identified at the end of our tenure. To date, nothing has been done to establish the park-and-shuttle system that was to facilitate the ease of traffic on the airport road," Crawford said.

bike zone rangers

He said that bike zone rangers were to be employed to police traffic breaches as well as environmental threats and vendor squatting.

"Had this been done, it would have prevented patrons from parking along the road and avoiding the park-and-shuttle system," Crawford said, referencing the chaotic scene which emerged on New Year's Day after unruly patrons attending the Sandz party along the Palisadoes strip caused a massive traffic pile-up.

"The Government, through its actions, has shown an unwillingness to further the efforts that were made to streamline and encourage the entertainment industry and is now seeking to blame everyone other than themselves for the debacle, which could have been avoided."

Grange said the Government was not in support of an entertainment zone being declared at the 7th Harbour, Gun Boat Beach, pointing to safety concerns and the proximity to the airport.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com