Thu | Oct 17, 2019

McKenzie happy with progress of MoBay fire station

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:25 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
A section of the Montego Bay fire station under construction on Barnett Street in St James. 
A section of the Montego Bay fire station under construction on Barnett Street in St James. 

WESTERN BUREAU:

Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie says that he is satisfied with the pace of the ongoing construction of the Montego Bay fire station.

The Barrett Street-based building is being constructed at a cost of $534.9 million.

Work commenced on the project shortly after the groundbreaking ceremony in June. The project, which is being undertaken by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) under its Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme, is slated to be completed in a year.

“This vision has finally become a reality,” said McKenzie, who visited the location on Thursday.

“My understanding, after speaking with Mr [Omar] Sweeney and the mayor (Homer Davis), is that the project is running ahead of schedule, coming in on budget, and is expected to be completed on time, using the same budget that has been projected.

“Once the facility is completed, it will solve the problems of not having an adequate fire service here in Montego Bay – not only in Montego Bay but in the western part of the island,” said McKenzie.

The original building that housed the fire brigade was demolished in 2006 after it was deemed structurally unsound. It had served as the city’s fire station for more than 50 years. Since then, the parish and city have been without a reliable fire station.

GIVING SUPPORT

“There is no denying that over the years, the brigade lacked the kind of support to give it what is needed. Since this administration came into being in 2016, we have spent close to $800 million on improving the Jamaica Fire Brigade, not just in terms of building out facilities but providing vital equipment to the men and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” McKenzie said.

He noted that the station was the first of three new facilities that will be constructed.

“I am pleased to say that work will commence on the fire station for Port Maria (St Mary), [where] work will commence by the end of October, and cabinet just recently approved the contract for the construction of the one in Yallahs (St Thomas). We are expecting that by the end of the calendar year, next year, the country will have three brand-new facilities to aid the firemen and women across the country.”