MONTEGO BAY, July 18 (JIS): Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, says a coordinated approach to urban planning and development in the town centres and cities will improve responsiveness and accountability in the Municipalities.
Mr. Williams, who made a presentation at the recent Local Governance Conference in Montego Bay, St. James, said the urban sector is a key contributor to economic growth, as cities and towns are hubs for jobs, educational and health facilities, and transportation.
“Good urban governance and accountability require technocratic and professional expertise, but equally as important is a capable municipal service. City managers and urban planners must adopt a long term outlook in policy formation,” he argued.
The Mayor said that a coordinated approach among agencies is the revolutionary way which provides a procedure that helps cities identify their strengths and weaknesses, while defining the main strategies for local development.
“This is absolutely necessary for change. The public services need to be aligned and interconnected. People must see us as one entity, so when roads are being fixed, water pipes are fixed also – at the same time,” he emphasised.
Mr. Williams said that the coordinated approach will also help to avoid the pitfalls of making quick decisions that will prove costly over time.
“Mayors, you are in a critical role to bring this coordination together and to encourage State agencies to start working together to actualize true urban development,” he told the audience.
Mr. Williams said the decisions that influence planning must be derived from robust debates and inclusive contributions from all stakeholders to “work the policies to a logical end, to ensure that before they are implemented, they address critical urban challenges faced by all.”
“Coordination is essential for solving urban challenges, and modern urban challenges fall outside of existing organizational boundaries. So, let us have plans that have a futuristic outlook that relate to our policy formulation. We have to think, plan and work together for the future,” the Mayor said.