Roaring River attraction to reopen next month

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large Western Bureau

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

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ROARING RIVER, Westmoreland

THE Roaring River attraction in Westmoreland which has been closed for more than five years is to reopen within the next two months, following a $12-million refurbishing exercise.

"We have already employed an interim manager and we are now getting ready to apply to the fire department for the requisite licences as well as the health department for certification," Paul Badresingh, the director of cooperate services at the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), told the Jamaica Observer West.

According to Badresingh, the project which was funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) included massive upgrade of the main office at Roaring River Park, which houses a number of amenities.

"For example, we have renovated the kitchen, and the bathroom facilities have been upgraded. We have also renovated the craft shop, bar and restaurant," said Badresingh, adding that "we are working closely with the tour operators."

The renovation project also included the installation of lights in the cave as well as repairs to the handrails and gate leading to it.

In the near future, he added, a playground for the children and wheelchair access to the building will be undertaken.

The Roaring River attraction with its natural cave, lagoon and mineral spring was closed after the TPDCo- operated facility had fallen into a state of disrepair.

Three years ago, Tourism and Entertainment Minister Wykeham Mc Neill vowed to revive the once vibrant attraction, citing the economic benefits that can be derived from the facility.

"You can't have 250,000 visitors coming to Negril, hundreds of thousands coming to Montego Bay and have an attraction of this beauty sitting here and you don't have it doing what it should be doing. We are going to make it happen," said Mc Neill then, during a tour of the Roaring River community.

He argued then that the attraction is of great importance to the tourism product and must operate at a standard where it can deliver economic benefits to the people in the area.

Three weeks ago, residents in the community staged a peaceful protest in the community calling for improvements in their water supply, better road conditions and the reopening of the Roaring River attraction.

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