Posted by Donair Wilmouth on Feb 05, 2018
President of the Rotary Club of New Kingston Dr William “Bill” Aiken (left), stands with the General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Dr Damian Graham (center) as he receives a certificate from Assistant Govenor Novlet Green-Deans for Rotary District 7020 following his presentation to the club's breakfast meeting last Friday . 

General manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Dr Damian Graham, believes the development of the much-anticipated state-of-the-art park at the Harbour Beach in Montego Bay will lift the spirits of residents who are experiencing violent upheavals in several communities.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting of the Rotary Club of New Kingston last Friday, Dr Graham said that in May, the UDC will start repairing the groynes which protect the shoreline of Dump Up Beach and two other public beaches in Montego Bay. After the groynes are refurbished, work on the closed Harbour Beach park will begin.

"The 26-acre property that is there is to function as a green space and 1,200 metres of coastal beach and boardwalk will go a long way in improving the psychological well-being of the residents in Montego Bay, who need that sort of environment to counter the current challenges they are experiencing on the ground," Dr Graham said.


He said the park will be outfitted with a jogging trail, recreational area and a civic zone where entertainment events can be hosted. He added that the project will create hundreds of jobs for residents in Montego Bay.

Her said they are working with the Tourism Enhancement Fund to get funding for the build out of the Harbour Beach park and property. Additionally, international funds have been invited through the Inter-American Development Bank towards aspects of the project, Dr Graham said.

Asked whether the UDC works will be affected by the state of emergency currently on in Montego Bay, Dr Graham said this will not be an issue for the UDC.

"We believe we have partnership with the community that is there on the ground, and we will work through the members of parliament and councillors to ensure that we have the project continue without impact. We anticipate by the time we start that the current state of emergency would have elapsed, but we don't see that there will be a difficulty to proceed with the works," Dr Graham said.

He said the public must expect to be charged some fees to use the park, once it is built.

"Evidently, you can't have infrastructure without some cost. People will want to come and have a towel, they will want to use a chair, they will want to eat at the facility. If people bring food, they will leave litter and somebody has to clean that up. We have a formula for doing that. If you look at Dunn's River, Fort Clarence or Ocho Rios Bay Beach, we have worked out rates that are well below market that people don't have a difficulty in affording," Dr Graham said.

The redevelopment of the groynes and the Harbour Beach park are part of a larger coastal and public beach restoration programme being undertaken by the UDC in Montego Bay.