Park ‘must go’

The operator of a beach front restaurant at Paynes Bay, St James has been ordered to dismantle a mini-play park which was erected on the beach and over the edge of a canal.

Several people contacted this newspaper to complain that the canal could not be cleared because part of the structure was bolted on top of it and blocking its reach. As a result they said the canal was full of stagnant, dirty water which was breeding mosquito larvae.

The structure consists of a mini playhouse with a slide and a wooden floor with an artificial lawn.

An upset resident said: “The Drainage Department cleared the canal last year but the proprietor of the restaurant built this play park over the canal and this has prevented the natural flow of the water. The water is stagnant and full of mosquito larvae and a lot of people around here have been sick.”

She pointed out that many individuals questioned if the proprietor had the relevant planning permission to erect the structure on the beach.

“It started out as a playhouse but they kept adding to it and then confusion came when a piece of lumber was placed across the sand and the water was not flowing. From the time it was built we started to get issues. The canal was dirty but no one could reach it to clean it. We wanted to know if they had permission from the National Conservation Commission and if they had any permission from the Planning Department.”

Another resident said they contacted a variety of Government officials who visited the area last month.

“We contacted the Drainage Unit, Coastal Zone, NCC, Branford Taitt Polyclinic, Planning Division, Ministry of Health, the Constituency Representative Office for St James Central and St James South were all informed from March 11 when the situation became grave. However, no resolution has been forthcoming to date,” the resident lamented.

However, when a Nation team contacted Lana McQuilkin-Prescod, the Principal Environmental Health Officer at the Branford Taitt Polyclinic, Black Rock, St Michael, she confirmed they were aware of the situation.

“We did visit the area and yes we are working on serving a notice on the lady who constructed the piece of property on the canal and that is what we are working on but I can’t tell you anything else,” she stated.

When a Nation team visited the beach which was populated with tourists, a man at the restaurant who refused to give his identity, said plans were made for the play park to be removed by the end of the day as he confirmed they were visited by officials of the Ministry of Health.

He explained that the play park was constructed for children but denied the structure was blocking the free flow of the canal.

He charged that the canal had not been cleared “for many years just before COVID” and that it was the sand which built up during high tide which was blocking it and not the structure.

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