$950-m rehabilitation

$950-m rehabilitation

Kingston's shoreline getting protection from erosion, storm surges

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, October 03, 2020

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MAJOR rehabilitation of Kingston's shoreline is under way as part of a Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Stretching approximately one kilometre along the Port Royal Street corridor from the Rae Town Fishing Beach to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, downtown Kingston, a composite seawall and stone revetment structure is being built as a response to shoreline erosion and storm surges.

Construction began in April and is on schedule for completion in April 2021. The initiative has been funded by the World Bank as loan to the Jamaican Government to the tune of $950 million.

The work includes the construction of a 4.7-metre-wide boardwalk to improve the site's aesthetics and promote recreational activity along the shoreline. An 80-metre fishing beach will also be created for fishermen who currently berth their vessels along the coast.

“The intention here is to preserve the road that links the east and western parts of Kingston. We know for instance people who go to and from the airport use this road, especially persons travelling from western Jamaica.

“Wave action has eroded most of the shoreline and it's beginning to affect the road. This project will preserve that but more than that it will create a new entertainment and well-being space for Jamaicans,” JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney told reporters during a tour of the site on Tuesday.

The project is also to be integrated with the overall downtown redevelopment initiative spearhead by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation and the Urban Development Commission, according to Sweeney.

“We see it as a game-changer because as soon as this project really starts to manifest itself that is what will trigger the ideas and investors to come in, because downtown's redevelopment cannot happen with just public sector investment, the Government alone cannot rebuild downtown Kingston.

“We need private sector to come in, and so these projects are done to enable and show the potential of what can happen. That is what we expect to happen in the next six to eight months,” said Sweeney.

He was joined by Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams, who said that once completed, the site will come a major point of attraction in the capital city, providing business opportunities for local investors.

“We want to the project to benefit residents so we are creating a recreational space. It will become an attraction space for different activities. From the level of the municipality, in addition to the shoreline protection, we want to make the space of recreational space, a space for leisure and one that has some kind of entertainment when necessary. “

The mayor also said that the space will be tied in with the flag circle located at the bottom of South Camp road.

“We developed the flag circle project about two years ago and we stalled it to accommodate this project. As soon as this project is completed, we are going to fit the project in with the flag circle to make it a total experience,” said Mayor Williams.

Newly elected Member of Parliament for Kingston Central Donovan Williams said the project will also provided employment opportunities for residents of the constituency.

“As the new Member of Parliament, this project is welcomed for multiple reasons. In addition to raising the stakes in the city of Kingston and the downtown area, it will also provide meaningful employment to the people of Kingston Central and it will also provide a space for the constituency to breath, so to speak.

“In the future development that is coming in relation to the entertainment aspect, I know that the small business people of the constituency who have that drive will find a space here, and so it is beneficial to the constituency. I am here to delve deeper into the project and the possibilities for Kingston Central the wider Kingston area,” said the MP.

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