Sun | Nov 27, 2022

Calls to develop Negril Beach Park

Published:Monday | September 26, 2022 | 12:08 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Negril Beach Park.
Negril Beach Park.
Negril Beach Park.
Negril Beach Park.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

STAKEHOLDERS IN Negril, Westmoreland, have thrown their support behind a call from Morland Wilson, member of parliament for Westmoreland Western, for the Negril Beach Park in the rustic resort town to be developed, similar to that of Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay, St James.

Negril Beach Park, which is located along Norman Manley Boulevard on land owned by the commissioner of lands, is being managed by the Negril and Green Island Local Authority (Negalpa), whose chairman, Frederick Moe, said it does not have the financial capital to bring the facility to an acceptable standard at this time.

However, Moe, who has only been at the helm of Negalpa for the last three years, welcomes the call for the Government to invest the required capital to enhance the aesthetics of the facility and, by extension, the town.

“It is our desire to see it developed, and we have been seeking a mandate from the agency above us, meaning the Government. There are many arms of government that play into that, not just one, and we’ve been seeking a mandate to develop it,” Moe told The Gleaner on Friday.

The Negalpa chairman, who was responding to Wilson’s call for the facility to be developed, argued that to operate the park requires resources that do not exist within the coffers of Negalpa, “and so we need to have the Government commit to actually developing the park and put some sort resources in place to operate it.

“As far as Negalpa is concerned, we are really unable to do anything more than we have because there are no committed resources to do so. We would love to see it developed,” Moe said, noting that the local development authority is only able to keep the facility clean of garbage

Further, he said that since being appointed as Negalpa chairman, “the arrangement is that we do the best that we can to keep it clean of garbage and bush, and we occasionally rent it out to people who have functions. Most of the functions are charity, such as kids’ treats, so we make them use it for free”.

Speaking in this year’s State of the Constituency Debate in Parliament, Wilson issued a call for the Negril Beach Park to be rehabilitated to mirror that of the iconic Harmony Beach Park.

In supporting his call, Wilson said the people of his constituency and the wider parish of Westmoreland are extremely concerned about the poor condition of Negril Beach Park, as it has been closed for more than 15 years.

“Madam Speaker, I am requesting the minister of tourism, the Tourist Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) and the Tourist Enhancement Fund (TEF) to develop the park with recreational areas similar to Harmony [Beach], including beach access,” Wilson urged.

His call comes one year and three months after Harmony Beach Park, which was developed at a cost of $1.3 billion (of which $600 million was contributed by TEF), was formally opened by Prime Minister Andrew Holness and provides free access, including the beach.

The development of the park forms part of the ‘Negril 2030: Call for Action’ document, which explores the issues affecting various proposed developments for several years.

Wilson said he has received several pledges from corporate Jamaica supporting the development of the park, and has asked TPDCo to lead the development.

“And I am advocating for TPDCo to make a mark and lead the charge with the development of the beach park, which will be a legacy for generations to come.”

Richard Wallace, president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, is relieved now that discussions are taking place to develop Negril Beach Park.

“We are in total support of this. We hope that it will come through sooner than later. We’ve been asking for that park to be developed for years now,” Wallace said.

“We are happy to know that at least the discussions are being advanced towards seeing it becoming a reality. We are definitely in support of it,” he added.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com