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Manchester Parish Council credits GIS with development

Published:Monday | January 17, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Laura Redpath, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Manchester Parish Council has praised the use of a technological system that has promoted sustainable development in the parish for nearly nine years.

Geographic information systems (GIS) manages geographical information and helps individuals working in agriculture, environmental sustainability, retail and the Govern-ment, to make informed decisions as they relate to development.

The Ministry of Local Govern-ment, under the Local Government Reform Programme, implemented the system in 1998, before it was installed at the council level in 2002.

According to Ryan Wallace, spatial planner at the parish council, the local planning body has access to all roads, except farm routes, and minor water supply channels, via the GIS.

"Developers come to us and ask us where are the best places to do business and where to build," said Wallace, who also added that the council works with the National Environment and Planning Agency to identify no-build zones as conservation areas.

"Within those areas, we say no development must take place," Wallace told The Gleaner yesterday. "Right now, to the west side of the parish, we have a steep slope and if we allow development to take place, erosion will be high in that region."

In addition, the Manchester Parish Council also used the GIS to plan evacuation routes for residents as Hurricane Ivan approached the island in 2004.