New look for Ocho Rios
$400-m project proposed to transform the resort town
The resort town of Ocho Rios is set for major transformation with the phased implementation of an enhancement project, valued at $400 million.
This project, which will see work being undertaken on the Turtle River Road and Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal in St Ann, is expected to last until October 2014.
Speaking at a JIS 'Think Tank' on December 19, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill, explained that the scope of work will include the full upgrading of the cruise ship terminal and the parking area, where kiosks will be erected to accommodate rotating craft vendors.
The work will also include major reconstruction of the Turtle River Road, between the pier and Main Street.
"We will be upgrading the pier, the buildings, and the parking within the area. We will be putting up shops, so that we are closer to what we have at Falmouth (in Trelawny) - similar types of design," the minister outlined.
He added that the Turtle River Road, which leads to Main Street, will be "totally pedestrianised, landscaped and redone."
McNeill noted that another phase of the project will involve the upgrading of the promenade, which runs from the pier to Main Street and west along Main Street back to Turtle River Road.
"The promenade, which is presently enclosed, will be opened up, landscaped and will bring everything into a sort of loop, creating a beautiful walk way by the seaside, which goes back to the beach and also connects the park to the craft market. The area will be used for walks, tours and will totally enhance the resort town," the minister explained.
He pointed out that the project will create a more attractive town, not just for visitors but for locals who will be able to enjoy the facilities on public holidays or at their own leisure.
"We are going to do everything possible to mitigate the negatives...we are going to put a lot of signage with pictures, so our visitors and locals will see that we are doing work and exactly what our intentions are," he said.
McNeill said Ocho Rios is an extraordinarily strong cruise ship destination with signature attractions, "so the work we are doing will only make the resort town look even better and more beautiful."
The project is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Port Authority of Jamaica, with the major partners being the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).