Falmouth mayor seeks $8.5m to address poor drainage system

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Noting that a number of clogged drains has contributed to the filthiness of Falmouth, Chairman of the Trelawny Municipal

Corporation Colin Gager says an estimated $8.5 million is urgently needed to undertake a much-needed drain cleaning exercise in the historic town.

The exercise, he said, will have to be followed by a maintenance programme, estimated to cost roughly $2 million monthly.

Gager, who is serving his second stint as Falmouth mayor, noted that most of the challenges with the drainage system would not have been as severe hadn’t it been for a badly choked drain which runs along Market Street. The drain, he said, should empty wastewater in the swamplands, a short distance from Martha Brae.

“One of the main drains that we believe is contributing to all the blocking up and causing the drains to be in such poor condition is the drain below the drag line on Market Street that goes to Martha Brae leading straight down to the overhead bridge. About a quarter is real drain (still functional), but the rest has tall trees and morass growing in it. So, the water doesn’t get to run down by the bridge … where it should flow over into the swamp,” Gager explained.

He disclosed that the municipal corporation has sent an estimate to both the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and Port Authority of Jamaica “to see if there is any help that we could get”.

Just last month, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the US$110-million Excellence Oyster Bay resort, located on the outskirts of Falmouth, emphasised the need for a number of social ills in the town to be addressed.

He told the gathering that he would be taking a “personal interest” in the development of the town.

“The town has so much history, the architecture is there … but public order issues, cleanliness issues, organisational issues of the town, and just leadership is necessary,” said the prime minister.

“I am hearing too many complaints from the cruise shipping sector of dissatisfaction that the place isn’t ready, we have to correct that, and I am saying it publicly that I am going to take a personal interest in ensuring that it is corrected.”

Gager told the Jamaica Observer West yesterday that he agrees with the prime minister’s pronouncement that the beauty of the town leaves much to be desired.

“The PM says the town is dirty, everybody knows that. So if I should say something else it would show that I am covering up what really is there,” said Gager, who is also the Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Warsop Division.

He revealed that since he was returned as the chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation last November, he has been using roughly $500,000 from the Mayor’s Allocation for the maintenance of drains in the town.

“We have created a way now where we use that for maintaining the drains, but that isn’t enough to maintain the whole town,” he declared.

He added: “We have been doing the regular washing down of areas of various streets and the town in particular. The Port (Authority of Jamaica) has come on board and they are helping us with it. They have now taken over the maintaining of the pedestrian area and we are hoping that they will go a little bit further.”

He pointed out that since the recent relocation of vendors from the pedestrianised Water Square area, the beauty of the town has been enhanced.

In the meantime, the mayor will today host Holness, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, other politicians, members of the business community, representatives of several government agencies and civic leaders at a function, dubbed ‘An Evening of Excellence’ in Falmouth.

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