THE Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) has started discussions with key stakeholders with a view to establishing Papine as a University Town.
This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development Colin Fagan during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, last Wednesday.
He explained that the move will facilitate the development of the Papine and Liguanea areas.
"Preparation of a more detailed plan to guide the development of this area is a vital first step in this process, and it will be pursued in earnest. We are about empowering our communities for national growth and development. This is just an example of the kind of initiative that can be undertaken in all parishes," the state minister said.
Both areas, he said, currently accommodate a very heavy concentration of the island's largest and premier educational institutions, particularly in respect of tertiary education.
"This reality, coupled with projections for planned expansion of several of these institutions, is a source of both great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities in urban planning and where the provision of the requisite services, amenities, infrastructure, housing and commercial services is concerned," he said.
"On the other hand," he continued, "it constitutes great prospects for placing Kingston as a major centre for education and learning, not only to meet Jamaica's needs, but for the Caribbean and, indeed, for the rest of the world."
Fagan said further, that the area presents prospects for growth with the attendant potential for job creation, contribution to national development, and the generation of significant foreign exchange inflows for the country.
"It also poses great challenges in terms of ensuring that the requisite infrastructure, transportation, services, amenities, utilities, housing and other necessities are in place to facilitate such development and to avoid chaos, which would otherwise be created," the minister said.
In the meantime, he pointed out that the new KSAC administration is in the process of updating the Kingston and St Andrew Local Sustainable Development Plan, and has already begun to engage major players in the re-development of downtown Kingston.
"(This is intended) to forge a real partnership and ensure that the re-development plans are in sync with the vision for the overall development of the city and most importantly, that such plans place people at the centre of such development," Fagan added.