Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
THE AVAILABLE acreage at Goat Islands, which China Harbour Construction and Engineering Company wants for the construction of a trans-shipment port and industrial park, is less than the desired amount of the lands the Chinese are seeking for the project.
The archipelago, located off the coast of Old Harbour, St Catherine, which is the property of the Urban Development Corporation, has 617 acres, which is far less than the 3,000 acres which Robert Pickersgill, the minister of land, environment and climate change, said is needed for the development.
According to the titles for the Goat Islands, surveys conducted in 1941 show that the Great Goat Island comprises 465 acres, one rood and six perches. Little Goat Island comprises 152 acres, two roods and 77 perches.
The lands, comprising Great Goat Island and Little Goat Island, were transferred from the commissioner of lands on September 21, 1970 to the UDC, which paid $37,077.38 for the property.
Pickersgill said in China two weeks ago that the Government was giving serious consideration to the proposal from the Chinese, which will complement Jamaica's logistics hub project.
Environmentalists have opposed plans for the project, saying flora, fauna and marine life could be disrupted if the project is allowed to go ahead.
Pickersgill has said the use of spatial planning to determine which project is more beneficial to the country is the best way to resolve the issues.
"In terms of the environmental laws as they now stand, those would have to be looked at to facilitate the project because, as I indicated, it has to accommodate a harbour and a very vast acreage, and those areas are protected. It is not a matter that you can just go at it like that. We would have to go by a process of negotiation," Pickersgill told The Gleaner recently.
"We looked at one alternative already and the preferred location for them is Goat Island one and two," Pickersgill also said.