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Land bank gets green light

Published:Thursday | March 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Cabinet has given the go-ahead for the Ministry of Housing and Water to establish a land bank for future residential development in Trelawny and neighbouring St James, in anticipation of demand once the new cruise shipping port is commissioned in Falmouth.

The ministry has identified property at Greenwich Park, Hague and Clifton in Trelawny, in which it will invest a combined $20.5 million; and also 11.94 hectares in Salt Spring, St James, to be acquired at $7.37 million.

The Falmouth cruise-ship port, an estimated US$250-million investment, is a joint project between Jamaica's Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Royal Caribbean has committed business for the port. Its' near 6,000-capacity mega-liner Oasis of the Seas was, at last reports, to begin calling in December 2010.

The project was launched in late 2008 as a two-year initiative to be completed in May 2010, but up to last year the Port Authority of Jamaica was still finalising financing for its US$122-million portion.

The Government expects that once the port - on which work is in progress - is up and running, the employment it will create and the spin-off economic activity for the town will see a rise in demand for infrastructure and services in Falmouth, hence the Housing Ministry's push to secure land for future housing.