Fri | Jul 21, 2017

Blenheim community centre to get attention

Published:Tuesday | February 28, 2017 | 2:00 AMClaudia Gardner
The Blenheim Community Centre which has been closed for 17 years.

Western Bureau:

Major rehabilitation work is to be undertaken on the Blenheim Community Centre in Hanover, which has never been used the entire 17 years since it was constructed.

The state of the centre was highlighted in a Western Focus article last week in which one resident of the community, 76-year-old Aston Buchanan, complained that the property had been vandalised after it was abandoned following completion of construction by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Last Friday, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, during a tour of the facility, expressed concern that the building, which is still structurally sound, has never been utilised. He was accompanied to the location by Hanover Municipal Corporation officials that included Deputy Mayor of Lucea Andria Dehaney and Chief Executive Officer David Gardner as well as representatives from his ministry.

 

ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY

 

"I have instructed the Hanover Municipal Corporation, along with the technical officers of the Ministry of Local Government, to immediately start an estimate of this facility (centre), and we are going to provide the money to renovate it. We are going to engage the community as to what the community thinks is best for them. I understand that there are a number of agricultural products around here that could be useful in this facility," McKenzie said following the inspection.

Last week, Buchanan and other community members complained that the community centre, which was constructed in 2000 by the JSIF, had never been furnished, equipped, or opened to the public and had been taken over by goats. He said it was initially constructed to be, among other things, a skills training centre and efforts to convert it to a turmeric factory and an agro-processing centre later on were to no avail.