Fri | Jul 30, 2021

St James residents tackle councillors on water, light issues

Published:Saturday | July 6, 2019 | 12:07 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

Western Bureau:

Mark McGann and Anthony Murray, the councillors for the Somerton and Rose Hall divisions, respectively, in the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC), have declared that they will be giving serious attention to resolving the infrastructural challenges in their divisions.

The councillors were addressing a recent community meeting at the Bethtephil Baptist Church in Chatham, St James, as residents spoke of the issues that needed attention in their communities, including poor road conditions, inadequate water supply, and insufficient street lights.

“There is work currently being undertaken as we continue to strengthen partnerships with the relevant agencies to find practical, real-time solutions,” said McGann. “Although the area suffers badly from drought and inadequate water supply due to outstanding pipe repairs, I continue to work closely with NWC (National Water Commission) to have certified trucks supply residents with water.”

The Somerton division councillor said that plans were afoot to upgrade the water supply and that trucking was a temporary measure.

“A major step to upgrade the water supply systems in the area has already been taken, with plans being put in place for the installation of new pumps, and we have already installed a number of tanks,” explained McGann.

Murray said that the challenges with water in his division are being addressed as a new water system will see them getting the commodity in their pipes soon.

“The road repairs and replacement of street lights continue to be a priority,” the Rose Hall division councillor said. “[Some] $4.5 million has been allocated for repairing roads in Retirement and surrounding areas and an additional $4 for Chatham. We will continue to liaise with Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in regards to fixing and replacing a number of street lights in phases.”

The community forum also featured the input of representatives from the National Solid Waste Management Authority, the St James Health Department, the Social Development Commission, Environmental Solutions Limited, the JPS, the Adelphi Police, and the Jamaica Red Cross.

Other issues discussed included garbage collection, health-related concerns, disaster preparedness, security awareness, the impact of the Closed Harbour Beach development in Montego Bay, and the support for social-intervention initiatives in the communities.

The StJMC’s Community Empowerment Forum is geared at facilitating communication among the citizens of the parish and their local authority and other agencies.