Construction of Negril fruit and vegetable market moves a step close to fruitionThursday, August 12, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
NEGRIL, Westmoreland - Following the overcoming of a major hurdle over the weekend that had hindered the process for the construction of a proposed $80-million building to house a fruit and vegetable market in the resort town of Negril, the Negril Chamber of Commerce, which has been lobbying Government for the facility for the past 30 years, is hoping that construction will commence before the end of the year.
“We are hoping that we can break ground by the end of the year,” expressed an optimistic Richard Wallace, president of the chamber.
At present, the absence of the facility has resulted in vendors plying their goods under less than desirable conditions on a private property in the town.
Three years ago, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie pledged to work with the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) and the Negril Chamber of Commerce to make the creation of the proposed facility a reality.
The local government ministry later prepared the building plan drawings and sent them to the chamber and other entities. The drawings were agreed on and returned to the local government ministry.
However, for the drawings to be approved, the structural engineer requested that soil testing be done as a prerequisite for the construction of the facility.
The soil testing was conducted over the weekend at a cost of over $700,000, which was borne by the chamber of commerce.
“The physical work was done at the site and we are now awaiting the formal report to forward it to the municipality and the ministry,” Wallace told the Jamaica Observer West.
Immediate past president and director emeritus of the chamber of commerce Daniel Grizzle said the soil test results could be ready in approximately two weeks.
The ministry, upon receipt of the test results and the completed drawings, will then send them to the Negril Green Island Area Local Planning Authority (NGALPA) and the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation for approval.
Grizzle is hoping that there will be no further delay on the part of the municipal corporation when the drawings are sent to them by the local government ministry for approval.
Less than a month ago, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie, during a tour of the area, stated that the Government is committed to having construction work commence in short order.
“It is a commitment we have given, and it is a commitment that we are going to keep because it is important. The commitment of this Government is to ensure that we provide the kind of environment for our market folk to work in and for people to go and shop and feel comfortable,” stated McKenzie.