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Modernisation for Old Harbour beach

Published:Friday | January 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Rasbert Turner, Gleaner Writer

A section of the Old Harbour Bay Fishing Beach. - file

Work is set to start on the Old Harbour Fishing Beach in St Catherine to develop a modern facility costing more than $15 million.

The plan was revealed to stakeholders at a ceremony held at the beach on Monday.

"The work will be done to the approved standards, with professionals turning out to complete the project on time with the assistance of local persons being employed as labourers," Howard Grandison, managing director of Howard's Construction, the company contracted to erect the new facilities, told The Gleaner, adding that the project is expected to last about six months.

Planned development

The development will include the construction of proper vending and sanitary facilities, expansion of the gear shed, and general aesthetic improvement.

Fisherfolk are upbeat about the prospects of the renovated facilities.

"This is very good for the development of the beach as, for years we have trying to get better facilities here. Therefore, it is happening when we need it most," Kevin Baker, president of the Old Harbour Fisherfolk Association, told The Gleaner.

Personnel from the St Catherine Health Department, the St Catherine South Police Division and the St Catherine Parish Council all gave positive views on the development thrust. The beach reportedly serves about 800 fisherfolk.

Peter Reid, programme manager overseeing the Old Harbour beach renovation, told The Gleaner that the programme forms part of the Jamaica Agricultural Production Project, an initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and funded by international donor agencies.

Old Harbour Bay is the first of six beaches to be upgraded under the programme. The others are in Savanna-la-Mar, Rocky Point, Black River, Calabash Bay and Negril.

The St Catherine Parish Council has given the occupants of buildings at the beach 14 days to relocate.