MoBay residents to benefit from $500-m promenade, says Bartlett

Observer West writer

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has disclosed that a promenade is to be created on Montego Bay's waterfront leading from the cruise ship Pier in Freeport to “Dead End” on the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard at a cost of $500 million, as part of the government's thrust to reimagine tourism experiences in the resort city.

Funding for the project is to be provided by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer West.

He said the promenade, which could be the longest in the English-speaking Caribbean, is expected to create economic opportunities for Montego Bay residents.

“This is going to be exciting for us, and it is going to create a brand-new opportunity for the people of Montego Bay, and Jamaica in general will be able to benefit from these cultural assets that we have and the value of our pristine waters in the north-western area,” he argued.

The tourism minister, however, did not say when the project will begin.

But he added that the facility will be “tied in” with the $1.29 billion state-of-the-art Closed Harbour Beach Park development now under construction and the Old Fort Craft Market in the resort city.

“There is a huge heritage value and already it is a tourism centre [Old Fort Craft Market]. So tying it [Old Fort] into this [promenade] is to expand the experiential value of this development, and so we see that as being an opportunity for the development of this town to be preserved and a good part of the history to be immortalised,” said Bartlett, following a tour of the Closed Harbour Beach Park development project last week.

He was accompanied by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, chairman of the UDC Ransford Braham, Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang and other stakeholders.

That project is expected to be completed within 18 months.

Prime Minister Holness, who expressed satisfaction at the pace of the construction, noted that the project, which is being undertaken by local firm, M&M Construction Ltd, is also within budget.

“All in all, I think this is a great investment. I wish to repeat that this is a $1.2 billion investment, so, if there is anyone who is of the view that the Government is not trying to develop public spaces, obviously this would put an end to that perspective,” he argued.

“But what is also important, this is being done by a local contractor. It is on time and on budget and we want to keep it that way. It is being supervised by the UDC, and so far, from what I have seen, I am satisfied and I am sure when it is completed, the people of Montego Bay will be more than satisfied with what we have managed to accomplish.”

Ground was broken in February for the project, which forms part of the UDC's Montego Bay Redevelopment Programme. It will see the conversion of the 16-acre property into a world-class recreational space with amenities that will allow for it to operate as a free access licensed public beach.

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