New day for Burwood Beach

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — AFTER many years of waiting, beach-goers are now enjoying much-improved amenities at the Burwood Beach, which is run by the Trelawny Parish Council.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill and other government officials are expected today to officially declare the renovated facility open at a ceremony to be held on the beach.


Yesterday, Chairman of the Trelawny Parish Council and Mayor of Falmouth Garth Wilkinson described the roughly $28-million project — which has been funded mainly by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) — as "a dream come true and a victory for the people of Trelawny".


"I am happy that we are able to have a world-class beach facility for the people of Trelawny, which is the most important thing to me right now. It [rehabilitation] is really a dream come true because it has been a long fight, a long struggle for us to have a beach that we can actually call our own. For years, this parish council has utilised the beach and what we really needed to do was to turn it into a world-class facility where the people of the parish will be able to use it with pride," the mayor explained.


Wilkinson — who has been the elected councillor for the Falmouth Division (PNP) since 2003 — was elevated to the post of chairman of the Trelawny Parish Council following the 2012 local government polls which saw the ruling PNP gaining control of that local authority after two successive terms under the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).


Wilkinson yesterday recalled that the previous JLP administration wanted to put the beach in the hands of private investors, but at that time he was resolute that the facility should remain under the control of the council.


"I remember, too, that my colleague, former [PNP] Councillor Claudette Jackson Rickards and myself used to fight and struggle that we would not sit by idly and allow the beach to go over into private hands," Wilkinson recalled.


The massive upgrading project involved the construction of sanitary conveniences, gazebos, the erection of perimeter fencing, a children’s play area and a bandstand.


Plans are also afoot to construct shops, a multi-purpose court and restaurants.


He added that discussions are ongoing with the owners of a piece of land adjoining the beach in a bid to add a slew of other attractions and to expand the parking facilities in the vicinity of the beach.


There have long been calls for the rehabilitation of the Burwood Beach, which boasts pristine white sand and is ideal for non-swimmers and persons who are desirous of learning to swim.


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.


He expressed confidence that the new-look Burwood beach would attract tourists and locals alike, stressing that the council will maintain its policy of charging no entrance fee to access the facility.

  

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