PORT ANTONIO, Portland — The upgraded Blue Lagoon will reopen on June 1, at the latest, and all the required safety and sanitary conditions will be in place. That's a promise made to councillors by acting CEO of the Portland Municipal Corporation Megan Henry-Bramwell and mayor of Port Antonio Councillor Paul Thompson. The commitment was made at Thursday's monthly meeting.
The opening date was decided, according to Henry-Bramwell, during a stakeholders meeting held earlier in the week.
"It will be done on a phase-by-phase basis. The first phase will allow pedestrian traffic, swimming and for persons who would want to go and take photographs and enjoy the scenery. We are working in collaboration with the JNHT [Jamaica National Heritage Trust] for this to become a reality for the people of Portland," she told the meeting.
The popular tourist attraction and heritage site located at San San in eastern Portland has been shuttered since August 2022 for refurbishing and rebranding.
Its reopening is being eagerly awaited.
There have been hiccups in the work being done, with squabbles breaking out about the location of sanitary conveniences and parking spaces. Community members have also complained bitterly about being unable to use the facility.
The issue of access was once again raised, during the municipal corporation meeting, by Councillor Wayne McKenzie (People's National Party, Prospect Division).
"It appears as if we take actions for special interest and then the little people who make up the majority of this country are marginalised. The Blue Lagoon situation affected fisherfolks who had docked their boats along the shore since no access was allowed. I am looking forward to the opening as it is a long wait from August of last year," he said.
And while welcoming the promise of a June 1 reopening, he cautioned that it may be a challenge to meet the deadline.
"Let me anticipate what is to come. Any failure, Your Worship, you cannot guarantee. Nothing normal; nothing less than the execution of that opening we won't be able to guarantee you nothing normal," McKenzie warned the mayor.
The mayor assured him that every effort would be made by the local authority to meet the deadline.
"The municipality will do anything to make sure the Blue Lagoon is reopened," he said.
"We have to ensure that the basic facilities are in place and to ensure that we maintain law and order at the facility… Councillor McKenzie, I understand you very well and I understand your concern. However, we want to fix it by the first of June and I can assure you it will be fixed," added Mayor Thompson.