Expanded government campus at Heroes' Circle preceded by social impact studyWednesday, October 20, 2021
PLANS for a new Parliament building, on lands within National Heroes' Park in Kingston, have been expanded into the Government Campus project aimed at a mixed use type of development offering both new homes for government agencies as well as commercial space and residential developments in the community adjoining.
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC), which is the project manager for the Government Campus project, told the Jamaica Observer that feasibility assessments for the Government Campus are being finalised, and requests for proposals (RFPs) have been put to market. Some of these are for social impact studies.
The assessments “will allow for community engagement and are standard processes in any major development plans”, the UDC indicated.
The RFPs call for consultants/firms to, among other things, complete audits to establish a baseline of the existing population, businesses/commercial entities, institutions, other organisations and infrastructure and their conditions.
They must also prepare to conduct social impact assessments to “identify intended and unintended social consequences, both negative and positive, of the planned development — the Government Campus; and engage residents and stakeholders”.
The UDC outlined that social impact studies were statutory requirements of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and are required for successful project design and development.
Among these are RFPs to seek consultants to undertake a social impact assessment (SIA) and a housing survey and assessment (HSA).
The deadline for the social impact assessment for Government Campus was October 5, 2021. An online bid opening was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 2:15 pm.
An online bid opening report will be generated by the Government of Jamaica Electronic Procurement (GOJEP) system and sent to all bidders who participated.
The UDC indicated that, as project manager, the UDC acts under the direction of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, which are the project owners.
Project architect is Evan Williams and his team, Design Collaborative. Construction of the new Parliament building itself is scheduled to start early in the 2022/23 financial year.
In March 2021 Prime Minister Andrew Holness indicated that detailed designs and drawings for the building had been completed, and building approvals had also been granted by various authorities.
PM Holness said that, with 16 sessional committees and several ad hoc committees, the current building (Gordon House) does not have the facilities to accommodate a fully functioning Parliamentary committee system.
The Government Campus project is visualised as a part of the renewal thrust for downtown Kingston. Queries to the UDC regarding projected costs and financing were not answered.