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KSAC to sign off on housing projects ... Despite mass resignation of committee members

Published:Thursday | February 21, 2013 | 12:00 AM

 Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

THE KINGSTON and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) is moving swiftly to ensure that proposals for housing projects are approved in a reasonable time.

This after the resignation of more than half of the members who sit on the KSAC's Town Planning and Building Committee following allegations of corrupt practices by some members. News broke last week that a housing project that was ordered demolished by the Supreme Court was later given the committee's stamp of approval.

Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew Angela Brown Burke told The Gleaner on Monday that she would be stepping in to ensure that those projects that were at the stage of approval and awaiting signature endorsement are dealt with, in order to avoid any undue delay.

"I have asked the technical officers to prepare a submission for my signature for those housing projects that are at the stage where they would have recommended approval. Those are going to come to me shortly for me to look at them," Brown Burke told The Gleaner.

She added: "We want to make sure that the fact that we are not having a meeting, that it does not negatively impact on the matters that should come before the committee," she said.

13 tendered resignations

Brown Burke was unable to say the number of projects that are on the books of the KSAC awaiting approval.

Addressing the matter of the resignation of committee members, the mayor confirmed that of the 21 persons who made up the committee, 13 have tendered their resignation. Trevor Bernard, committee chairman and councillor for the Maxfield Park division was among those who resigned.

"What persons have stated in their letter is that in relation to where we are with the decision that was made (on the project) and the public discussion around it, they believe they would want to give me a free hand to determine what has to be done and how we restructure that committee," the mayor said.

Asked on Monday what, if any, actions would be taken against any member, the mayor said, "I am not at a position in terms of sanction," while adding that she was still conducting her investigation.

As for when a new committee will be assembled, she told The Gleaner this is usually done at the council meeting.

Addressing the monthly meeting of the KSAC last Tuesday, councillor Vernon McLeod, in a letter read by Town Clerk Errol Greene called for a thorough investigation into why the project was approved, despite the 2008 court ruling. The building was said to be riddled with breaches under the building code.