Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Chinese still awaiting land promised by Government - CHEC set sights on damming Rio Cobre

Published:Thursday | September 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

HAVING HANDED over a portion of the North-South Highway on schedule, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has said, when the remaining strip, scheduled for 2016, is completed, it will start damming the Rio Cobre in St Catherine.

But even as CHEC has commenced the feasibility studies on the Rio Cobre, Zhongdong Tang, its regional director, disclosed that his company is also awaiting promised lands, yet to be handed over by the Government, being given to the Chinese to facilitate development plans in the parish.

Tang told The Gleaner that four parcels of land are to be turned over to China Harbour to develop an area in St Catherine as part of the concession agreement to construct the highway.

Tang said under the agreement, the ownership of the lands will be transferred to China Harbour.

"If we do not develop it in 25 years, it will be given back to the Government," he said.

The North Coast Highway will be turned over to the Jamaican Government in 15 years.

In relation to the proposed damming of the Rio Cobre in St Catherine, Tang said CHEC is in the process of undertaking a study of the area.

"The study will be completed before the end of this year, after which we will move to an implementation agreement," he said.

He revealed that specifications submitted by the Government indicated that the plans being envisaged are storage and supply of potable water to certain areas and for the purpose of irrigation and generating hydroelectricity.

A feasibility study meeting on the Rio Cobre dam project was reportedly held in the conference hall of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing in late March.

The project aims at alleviating the condition of stressed drinking water and irrigation water in Kingston and providing renewable energy sources, and it is one of the long-planned livelihood projects of the Government of Jamaica.