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Construction of multimillion-dollar fire station in MoBay to start by month-end

Observer West writer

Thursday, May 09, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Construction for the long-awaited $475 million Montego Bay Fire Station in St James is expected to commence by the end of this month.

The disclosure was made by Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis during the St James Municipal Corporation's inaugural staging of “Your Mayor Speaks', an interaction programme held on the grounds of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in Sam Sharpe Square, St James in partnership with local community radio station More 91.7 FM last week.

Mayor Davis said the station which will be constructed on lands where the old station on Barnett Street was demolished more than a decade ago and is expected to be ready in 2021.

“Ground will be broken soon, and based on information, before the end of this month. And so, Montego Bay should be seeing work starting on its new fire station, which based on projections, should be ready in the next two years. So, that is welcome news for us the citizens of Montego Bay,” stated an upbeat Mayor Davis.

In January 2005, the then Technical Director in the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development, Patrick Wong, stated that the process of designing the regional prototype for the Barnett Street fire station in St James was currently underway, with plans for the existing station to be demolished and a newly constructed station to be completed towards mid-2007.

The original station located at 34 Barnett Street in Montego Bay was eventually demolished with plans to construct a modern facility at a cost of $200 million. However, due to budgetary constraints, the plans were placed on hold, resulting in the firefighters being relocated to their current temporary location at Freeport, on the outskirts of the resort city.

Following years of promises which apparently resulted in the cost to construct the station ballooning, Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie announced in November 2018 that, “the Bid Selection process is shortly at hand, and works are expected to begin by the start of the next Financial Year, April 2019, at a cost of $475 million.”

But, now that the project seems set to get off the ground, there could be a potential issue as the Bartlett Street property is currently being used as a car park by the public and a park for some transport operators who ply the Montego Bay to Falmouth route.

However, Mayor Davis told the Jamaica Observer West that persons who use the area as a park, will now have to utilise the nearby Harbour Street car park, while transport operators will have to utilise the adjacent authorised Montego Bay Transport Centre.

The new fire station construction project will be managed by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund under the World Bank Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme.

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