KSAMC promises action as derelict building poses threat to thousands of pedestrians in downtown Kingston


Monday, January 13, 2020

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The Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) has promised that one of the many derelict buildings posing a threat to pedestrians and motorists in downtown Kingston will be demolished this week.

The building, at 18 Sutton Street, near its intersection with Johns Lane, has been abandoned for years and was recently further damaged by a fire.

Now the flimsy structure seems on the verge of collapsing on a road which is used by students of several schools in the area to get to the bus bays in Parade.

Every weekday thousands of students from the schools in the area, which include Kingston College, St George's College, Holy Trinity High, the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, Kingston Technical and young ones from Calabar Primary & Junior High, St Aloysius Primary, and St George's Girls' Primary and Infant School pass the derelict building which appears to be on the verge of collapsing.

“I think it should be taken down. This is a danger to the children so I think they should just lick it down. If I am not wrong there was a building which fell down on two children somewhere near here some years ago and we don't want that to happen again,” said Ingrid Chin, who works at the nearby St Aloysius Primary School.

Late last week acting chief engineering officer at the KSAMC, Xavier Chevannes, told the Jamaica Observer that the corporation is aware of the threat posed by the derelict structure and is moving to address it.

“We are going to demolish it sometime this week. What we do is we always give the owners the duty [to demolish them] and I expressed to them that failure to do so the city is going to act,” said Chevannes who on January 1 placed a notice on the building giving the owner a 24-hour notice to demolish it.

“I agree that this is a danger and we are going to act,” declared Chevannes.

But residents and business operators in the area are taking no comfort Chevannes' promise as they claim that this is the second time in less than one year that the KSAMC has issued a 24-hour notice for the owner to demolish the building and nothing was done the first time around.

“Obviously the owner, who inherited the building from a family member, does not have the money to do the demolition and so she has done nothing about it,” said a resident who gave her name only as Paula.

“This is 'deadlef' and the owner only pass through sometimes so is we and we children who are at risk,” added Paula, who was one of several persons to seek the intervention of the Observer in an effort to get the building demolished urgently.

“I believe this is very hazardous not to mention the fire that took place the other day which caused the structure to get weaker. At any given time a tremor, or something like that can cause it to give way on persons, including young pedestrians, who are walking pass it.

“I believe that it should be taken down as soon as possible,” said Raheim Robinson as he shied away from the building while passing.

He was supported by a fellow resident who said he did not want to be named as he did not want to be identified in what has become a tense situation.

“It looks really terrible and it can drop down at any minute. It is really dangerous and hundreds of children pass here every day. Look how high it is and anything that is so high with no foundation holding it up you know that it soon collapse,” said the man who was seen warning motorists not to park close to the derelict building.

“This building has to come down man. First of all, no steel no inna this a just board. A one old structure this and fire tek it so you know say the building structure weak yah now. As me say no steel and a board them did use because back then no steel never use inna buildings.

“Is a school zone this and people pass here every day, school pickney pass here every day. It affi come down. Them want to wait until somebody a pass and it drop pon them a that time them ago tek it down. Come on man,” declared another downtown Kingston resident who gave his name only as Marlon.

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