BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — CHAIRMAN of the Trelawny Parish Council Garth Wilkinson says the Burwood Beach in the parish will not be privatised and has announced plans for a multi-million dollar upgrade of the facility, which has been in a state of disrepair for quite some time.
"Rather than leasing it out or giving it to any individual, we are going to ensure that we preserve the beach and keep it under our control," said Wilkinson, who is also the mayor of Falmouth.
He told the Observer West that the massive upgrading project will involve the construction of shops, sanitary conveniences, a multi-purpose court, a gazebo, restaurants, a children's play area and a bandstand.
The project, will be put to tender next week, Wilkinson said, adding that work is expected to begin in September and should be completed by year-end.
Funding is being provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
There have long been calls for the rehabilitation of the Burwood Beach, which is the only public beach in the parish of Trelawny.
But the Trelawny Parish Council which owns the run-down facility had said that it was not in a position to undertake much needed repairs at the beach, due to financial constraints.
And the local authority was apparently unwilling to put the beach, which boasts pristine white sand and is ideal for non-swimmers and persons who are desirous of learning to swim, in private hands.
Last week Wilkinson told the Observer West that "many persons would like the Burwood beach to be privatised," but he remained resolute that the facility should be owned by the people.
"As the only public beach we have, I thought that we had to do everything in our power to preserve it, so that's why we are going the way we are going," said Wilkinson, adding that the people of Trelawny deserve a great beach that is actually owned by them.
Stressing that it was under his watch that representation was made to the Tourism and Entertainment Ministry for the requisite funding to rehabilitate the beach, Wilkinson said the council intends to put in place a management committee to oversee the operations of the facility, once complete.
He expressed confidence that the new-look Burwood beach would attract tourists and locals alike, stressing that the council will retain its policy of charging no entrance fee to access the facility.