MoBay’s new Harmony Beach Park ready to open
The $1.3-billion Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay, St James, will be ready to receive members of the public, limited groups of 10, when the latest COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Originally scheduled to be opened today, March 2, the planned festivities have been postponed, pending favourable COVID-19 protocols for public gatherings.
“We are actually at a point where we will be able to open. We are able to accept limited numbers and I think it’s important ... that with the current constraints we have and with the [COVID-19] spike that we have been seeing over the last week or two, that we have to be diligent and we have to be responsible,” Lisa Golding, the deputy general manager for subsidiary management and revenue generation at the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), told reporters during a tour last Friday.
The project has resulted in a total transformation of the Second City’s Closed Harbour Beach – more popularly called Dump Up Beach – which has its entrance and exit points located along the Howard Cooke and Jimmy Cliff boulevards.
Limited public access
Golding said that the UDC, which will be managing the facility, will allow public access to the park in limited numbers with no more than 10 persons in a group setting.
“We have established some capacities for normal operations and we have established restricted capacities and those are going to be very limited. We encourage people who want to see the park to book with us,” she said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness issued an order shutting down activities such as handover ceremonies, ground-breakings, and launches as part of new measures imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“This Government has done so many projects, but unfortunately, all of that will have to be on hold for the next three weeks,” he said during a press conference from Jamaica House. “So, the entire public sector, ministries, departments and agencies, statutory bodies are directed [not to have any] social events, ceremonies unless they are virtual.”
Golding said that because of limited access, those persons looking forward to swimming will have to wait a little longer to enjoy the beach when Harmony Beach Park officially opens.
“We will not allow the use of the beach in the first month of operation because of the constraints we currently have. We will allow people to come inside the space to interact, move around, and used the jogging trail,” she disclosed.
The Harmony Beach Park is a 16-acre property that has been transformed into what is now Montego Bay’s largest free, public-access beach park, providing much-needed green space for outdoor recreational activities.
The facility was developed by the UDC as one of its flagship projects with primary financial support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.