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Restore priority of B’town Redevelopment Plan

3/21/2012

Once again a functional urban development enterprise is threatened with subordination by political expediency of an impulsive approach to public housing as a social service. The Cave Hill Master Plan suffered this fate at the hands of the Housing Authority of the day. Instead of a “University Town” as the minimum achievement, a civil servants’ dormitory was the result.

The irony is that even as housing for civil servants, the intended “town centre” is under-developed or vacant while Government offices are still being built on other lands with less accommodating features.

Recent proposals for “high rise” residential buildings in parts of Bridgetown and St. Michael should not be contemplated in isolation of the more comprehensive Bridgetown Plan, to be executed in progressive stages with consistency of aim and continuity of administration, which a proper municipal authority or urban development corporation would provide.

Before depositing “high rise” residences anywhere, due consideration must be given to the capacity of the surrounding area’s infrastructure and community services to accommodate the increased population density and incidental traffic – pedestrian and vehicular.

The Bridgetown Plan of 1967 was suspended from approval of the Development Plan 1977 in order for alterations to be made, eliminating the Spine Road of six lanes through the City to connect with Collymore Rock as a four lane highway to Wildey.

Since the abandonment of the Spine Road through Bridgetown in favour of the alternative Ring Road Bypass (now ABC Highway) the priority of a Bridgetown Plan was pre-empted. In its place there has been elevated the excitement of Warrens Suburban Centre, which is rapidly becoming a node of congestion because of its inappropriate location on and not off a limited access road system.

Before perpetuating this kind of mistake, which proper planning survey and analysis would avoid in the provision of intensified accommodation and activity in the City, the priority of preparing and implementing a Bridgetown Plan should be restored. The “ad hoc” execution of sectional ministerial and business interests would give way to positive co-ordination of the physical, social and economic redevelopment of Greater Bridgetown as an area of comprehensive development. The obvious advantage would be providing local employment of local resources and assets to declare financial independence to a greater degree from foreign debt.

The advantage of proper planning is the avoidance of compromising future development with the embarrassment of intermediate obstructions, created as “knee jerk” reactions to the demands of partisan political pressure for expediency, where “sustainable” action is required for consistency and continuity in community enterprises.

LEONARD ST. HILL

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