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UDC to decide on downtown transport centre by June

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 23, 2013    

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GENERAL manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Desmond Malcolm says the corporation hopes to decide the future of the downtown Kingston Transport Centre by June.

"The talks are ongoing and we hope to come to a conclusion by June," Malcolm told Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) at Gordon House on Wednesday.

He was responding to questions from PAAC member Lloyd B Smith about the future of the centre — located on Water Lane — which he noted was costing the UDC some $1 million per month despite its inactivity.

Former Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry suggested that in view of the proximity of the centre to the railway station at Pechon Street, the Government should consider turning the centre into a transportation hub.

"Maybe you should really look at the plan, which was at the Ministry of Transport and Works (when I was there), seeking to integrate the railway redevelopment by incorporating it as a kind of hub," Henry said.

"All the analyses showed that unless you make some real social changes, or develop a new transportation plan, it is not going to be marketable," Henry added.

The Opposition MP said that he suspected that changes in both the administration and the board of the UDC have led to policy changes, but that the reality was that it was "wrongly built and wrongly placed and cannot work as it is".

PAAC Chairman Edmund Bartlett said that he expected an update when the UDC returns to the committee.

The centre, which was opened in January 2011, was closed a year later when the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) decided to end its management of the facility located on Water Lane, downtown.

The KSAC said then that the day-to-day operations were not viable, and it had become a burden on its resources. The Council handed back the operations to the UDC.

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