Manchester community in limbo as no one takes responsibility for needed road repairsTuesday, July 13, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — For at least five years, residents of College View, a community located south of the Mandeville town centre, have been facing the deteriorating condition of their main road with no indication of when it will be repaired.
This is as a result of the local municipality and the developer of the scheme, the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), pointing fingers at each other as to who is responsible for the maintenance of the road.
Councillor for the Mandeville Division, the People's National Party's Jones Oliphant, told the Jamaica Observer recently, that the scheme has not been handed over to the municipal corporation so it is not responsible for the road repairs..
“Any work that is done there is just complimentary. I met with the citizens and I outlined what is what. I have had at least two meetings with them. I have met with the citizens' association,” said Oliphant.
“Even if since then they have written to the parish council, the roads would have deteriorated so badly, they would have had to repair them. The only way anything can be done now [is that] it would have to be [at] the discretion of the local government minister,” added Oliphant.
He said the developers of the scheme were made aware of what should be done.
A source told the Observer that all roads controlled by the municipal corporations are listed at the Roads and Works Department and when the development is done, “once it's not a gated community, where the infrastructure is privately owned [and] it shared by the lot owners, the developer would write to the parish council for the latter to take over the infrastructure within that community,” said the source.
President of the College View Citizen's Association, Lawrence Johnson, said the development started in 1996 and the deplorable road condition has been a turn off for taxi operators.
“[For] about five years it has been in that condition and has been deteriorating. It has caused inconvenience, there is a reluctance on the taxi men to traverse the road to [transport] especially students and for those who don't own a vehicle,” said Johnson.
He pointed to a letter of completion which was reportedly issued by the municipal corporation.
“What really is the central point that is preventing us from getting the road addressed by the corporation [is that] a majority of the community roads in Mandeville are not taken over by the parish council. Even when we get letters of completion from the developers and these are issued by the parish council.
“We learnt that although the parish council issued the letter of completion if we don't apply to them to take it over, they don't, and most communities were not aware of that. It is because of our current struggle we are [now] aware of it. The developer would have to resurface the road and then now apply to the council to take it over. The council is not interested in taking it over in the current condition,” added Johnson.
He lauded the Seventh-day Adventist-owned university for the scheme, but said the collective effort of residents to raise funds to repair the road is taking a while.
“The developer is the Northern Caribbean University. They did a wonderful job when it was constructed, but like everything it has to be maintained,” he said.
“We have been trying to see if we can get what we call collective support to get it done, but it takes a while to really amass the required amount of funding to resurface the road,” he added.
Meanwhile, NCU in a statement said it is unaware that there is a need to formally hand over the scheme.
“Having received the approval of the Manchester Municipal Corporation for the building and completion of the College View Housing Development, the developer, Northern Caribbean University, is unaware that there is a need to formally hand over the scheme to the municipality. Indeed, public services such as garbage collection are being provided by the municipal authority,” said the NCU in a statement.
“Likewise, the developer expects the provision of other public amenities, such as road repairs, by the municipal corporation,” added the NCU.
Johnson said he believes the regulations of how a scheme is taken over by the municipal corporation needs to be changed.
“I think that law needs to be changed, because whereas we have put in the electricity, it is now owned by Jamaica Public Service company (JPS). Whereas we have put in the water system as a university, [it is] now owned by the National Water Commission (NWC). We don't see why the road could not have been treated in a similar fashion?”
“We all pay taxes to the Government and we are told that we can't fix your road, because it is yet to be handed over to the council. I can't see the logic of that. The Government needs to change that particular law to empower the community, so that the parish council can respond to them in a timely manner,” declared Johnson.