Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
MILE GULLY, Manchester:
THE GROWTH of Mile Gully, Manchester, has been greatly hampered due to the lack of running water and telephone lines.
Local businessman Everton Palmer, who operates a farm store in Mile Gully, has been lamenting his inability to expand his business due to the inadequate infrastructure.
Palmer, who has been running his business since 1986, said: "With no running water and telephone lines, it creates a big problem in growth for business. I recently tried setting up a Western Union at my place through GraceKennedy. We went through the necessary training, getting the place set up, but with no telephone landline, I had to put a stop to that.
"When I spoke to the LIME people, they said the distance between Grove Place to Mile Gully, where there are no houses, it wouldn't be viable for them to run lines to the town."
Palmer added: "Due to the lack of telephone lines, I am not able to set up a fax machine at my place, which is very useful for business."
The businessman said the absence of running water greatly affected the people of Mile Gully. "People have to set up their own catchment for water," Palmer said. Sometimes the health clinic and also the school have to be closed because of a lack of water, so it is a very serious problem."
Convenient for residents
The businessman also lamented the absence of an automated banking machine in the town, which, he said, would be very convenient for residents.
Mikael Phillips, member of parliament for North West Manchester, said there are plans by the National Water Commission to solve the water problem in Mile Gully.
"The Greater Mile Gully Water Supply project is, so far, on stream. The National Water Commission is currently completing the final design for the project and is currently sourcing funds for this. It will cost $250 million."
In relation to the telephone lines, Phillips said, "I have made representation on the residents' behalf to the service providers, which claim that they would not have adequate customers that would pay back for the huge amount they would have to invest in infrastructure works to be able to provide the service. So that's the problem."
The MP said he had embarked on the project of improving the roads in Mile Gully and neighbouring communities.
"Rehabilitation of some of the community roads within Mile Gully started from last year," he said. "In another week, the Settlement scheme road and the Settlement to Lambert Road will see some rehabilitation."
Phillips added: "An estimate was done last week for the rehabilitation of the main road leading into Mile Gully at a cost of $66 million. We will have to wait to see when the NWA (National Works Agency) will be able to find funds to finance that project."
Phillips also said plans were in place for the refurbishing of the Mile Gully Park, which has been neglected in recent times.
"Over the next four years, we will be, over a phased basis, rehabilitating and converting the Mile Gully Community Centre into a modern mini-stadium and sporting complex, complete with lights, stands, gym, and other modern facilities," Phillips disclosed.
He added: "I have had discussions with the Jamaica Library Service to jointly construct a modern library and resource centre in the town of Mile Gully at Fern Hill. We will soon start the design and costing for a plan to start in another two years."