Bunting laments water woes at Manchester housing site

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND
Staff reporter
sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 14, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Member of Parliament (MP) for Manchester Central Peter Bunting has expressed discontent that the over 100 residents who acquired lots at the Perth Housing Development here still have no access to potable water.

Perth Estate, the first phase of the development, was officially opened in 2013 by then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

Bunting was speaking in Mandeville last Thursday at the groundbreaking of Perth Estate, Phase 1A, where the scheme is set to be expanded with 118 housing solutions, 70 detached two-bedroom units and 48 service lots.

He said that the commitment was that an agreement between the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the National Water Commission (NWC) would ensure that residents would have water in the scheme within two years but to date that is not the case.

“When the original phase was opened or put on the market, the understanding given to the purchasers then was that I think it was within two years that (NWC) potable water would have been available in the scheme. We are six years down the road and still no water,” said Bunting.

“If you want to make a MP life miserable, sell lots in a scheme, let the people build their house, promise them water and then don't give them water,” Bunting continued.

Bunting said that he was like a broken record at Parliament's Standing Finance Committee meetings about getting a resolution to the water issues in the constituency and in the Perth Scheme in particular, as residents bought lots based on the understanding that water was going to be provided and it should be a priority.

President of the Perth Citizen's Association and Benevolent Society, Petula Jarrett, who has the task of lobbying on behalf of residents to have the necessary amenities in place, knows well the daily realities and inconveniences of not having easy access to water.

She told the Jamaica Observer that for her household of six — four adults and two children — they have to dedicate approximately $16,000 once per month to buy water.

Jarrett said that she was told previously by an NWC official that they were not planning to put a system in place there because of the numerous challenges with leaks in the existing system in the parish.

It was good news to the ears of Jarrett and others on Thursday when Pearnel Charles Jr, representing Prime Minister Andrew Holness and in his new responsibility for Water, Housing and Infrastructure in the Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation, announced that plans are in place to ease the water woes, not just at Perth but the water supply in “Greater Mandeville”, referring to areas in and around the town.

“I am advised and I can announce that there is going to be and has already started a scope of work that has been proposed to upgrade the potable water supply infrastructure serving the town of Mandeville and its environments and this will meet the existing shortfall and provide for the purpose of future developments,” he said.

Charles said that the overall cost is estimated to be $1 billion.

“I am advised that it will be implemented over the next 14 months, so it will be aligned with development of the Perth Housing Development (Phase 1A) here,” he said.

Charles said that in addition to general work that will be done to improve the Greater Mandeville water supply, work that will directly impact Perth will include transmission of upgrades between Kingsland reservoir and the Perth tank, upgrade of the Perth tank with a new pumping station and the supply and installation of transmission mains from the Perth tank to a new tank at Moorlands, which will be equipped with a pump station dedicated to serving the Perth Housing Development.

Jarrett was relieved and elated to hear the announcement, noting to the Sunday Observer that she has made many efforts on behalf of the residents to get potable water to the scheme but they have been unsuccessful.

“I feel so good. I am really ecstatic,” she said.

According to the NHT, the total development cost for Perth Estate (Phase 1A) which is 18.41 hectares (45.48 acres), is $1.06 billion.


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