Sun | May 19, 2019

MoBay Chamber calls for 20-year development plan for city, parish

Published:Monday | August 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) is calling for a 20-year development plan for Montego Bay and the wider parish of St James that will indicate where housing and parking for motorists are to be provided.

Bemoaning the current state of Montego Bay, which will be celebrating 38 years as a city this year, attorney-at-law Nathan Robb, a past president of the MBCCI, said a development plan for the city and parish is needed urgently.

"What is Montego Bay to be like in 20 years' time? We have no planning for parking, we have no planning for sectorisation," said Robb. "I am saying, if we as a chamber do not become the chief lobbyists for Montego Bay, we are going to have to answer to our children and grandchildren.

"What kind of businesses are there? We have no planning for where houses are going to be built [or] commercialisation, where are we going to be 20 years' time?" continued Robb, who was speaking at the recent monthly meeting of the MBCCI.




He argued that there is no existing development plan for the city or the parish of St James.

"There is no plan to begin with, and we have all these issues whereby you have a building with four rooms and suddenly that building becomes a five-story building with commercial operations, [and] not one single car park is provided for," he maintained.

"Where are we going to be in 20 years' time? How the hell does the fire brigade get there? It can't," argues Robb, who believes city planners should seek to revisit the Greater Montego Bay Redevelopment Plan, which was developed 22 years ago but was never implemented despite an injection of some $12 million from the National Housing Trust to revive the now-defunct plan.


Ongoing project


In responding to Robb's comments, Trevion Manning, director of planning at the St James Municipal Corporation, acknowledged that there is no development plan in place for Montego Bay and the wider parish but said the One Bay for All Sustainable Montego Bay Action Plan is a catalyst project from which a development plan could be developed.

"There is not a development plan for Montego Bay. What the council is focusing on now is to prepare a local sustainable development plan for the parish," Manning told The Gleaner.

"No one can comfortably say that some sort of development is not taking place in Montego Bay. Right now, the development order for St James is under review by NEPA (the National Environmental Planning Agency) for us to look at zoning review."

Manning said Montego Bay is projected to meet all the conditions under its sustainable development plan and also achieve the Vision 2030 goals.

"We expect to have our local sustainable development plan in place for Montego Bay and the rest of St James so that we have a direct growth path to show where Montego Bay will be going," he said.