Government is looking to make roadside mechanics a thing of the past.
However, Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Davidson Ishmael said the idea is not to deprive them of a living but rather create a space where they can operate and not be a nuisance.
“Government recognises the issues associated with roadside mechanic work have proven problematic over many years and as communities have become more populated, the challenge has become a lot more acute.
“Typically, roadside mechanic work involves large numbers of vehicles along a road and that can create problems relative to garbage trucks or emergency vehicles being able to gain access to those small communities given the event those services are needed.
“You also have the work being carried out – guys tuning engines at all hours of the night; muffler smoke and exhaust which can present a challenge to those who are sensitive to these types of things. You also have the oils and different run-offs from the different things that take place which then can go into people’s gardens and pathways,” he said.
Ishmael, who is Member of Parliament for St Michael North, said the issue was particularly acute in his constituency.
“We have some roadside mechanics who sometimes park vehicles all along the road – in front of people’s driveways, blocking access to their homes – so we recognise there could be many challenges associated with the profession.
“But Government does not want to curtail or prevent people from being able to ply their trade . . . . [In fact], we have been particularly supportive of small business and entrepreneurship.
“The challenge is we have to balance the ability of businesses to survive and thrive against the social well-being of people who live in the same communities in which these roadside mechanics operate,” he said.
One solution, he said, was the Mechanics Bay Initiative, a shared space in various communities for mechanics in the area to work while not adversely affecting the neighbourhood. (MB)