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Fire Station for Ulster Spring, Trelawny – Govt to increase pace of building out new stations

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, will break ground for a new fire station in Ulster Spring, Trelawny on June 17.-This move is part of the Government’s thrust to increase the pace of building out new fire stations for the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) to meet the needs of the evolving population.  Since 2016, the Administration has invested approximately J$5.74 billion in equipment and infrastructural development.

“The Government is determined to ensure that through the restoration of current stations and the building of new ones; the Jamaica Fire Brigade will feature an efficient network of fire stations that will provide a rapid response to any emergencies that arise. Such a network will also require sufficient personnel, and I am heartened to report that a new batch of 90 firefighters commenced training exercises in February this year,” stated Minister McKenzie.

“Fire Brigade personnel perform among other duties, inspections of buildings, and are part of the multi-agency assessment teams that carry out the development approvals process. To raise additional revenue, in order to further revitalize the Fire Brigade, we are examining the levying of a fee on new construction projects that exceed a prescribed height. I will say more about this at another time.”

Three new stations were earmarked for construction under the Jamaica Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project in Yallahs, Montego Bay and Port Maria. The new facility at Barnett Street in Montego Bay, St. James was officially opened on May 13 after significant construction challenges.

“This is a major development for the city of Montego Bay, especially when it is remembered that in 2016, when this Administration was elected, the Fire Station in Montego Bay had been closed for 7 years,” the Minister added during his presentation to the House of Representatives on May 25.

“Work is also far advanced on the Yallahs Fire Station in St. Thomas, and I expect to officially open it in this financial year. The Port Maria Fire Station is expected to be completed by the end of May, and I am also looking forward to opening this brand-new station shortly.”

Minister McKenzie also shared that during the 2021/2022 financial year, work was undertaken to complete the Old Harbour Fire Station in St. Catherine at a cost of $59.9 million, which was opened officially handed over on April 19.

Phase One of the Infrastructure Development Programme involved the rehabilitation of the Black River Fire Station at a cost of J$30m. Phase 2, which started in November 2021, is being implemented at a cost J$38.7 million.

“As the Government continues to invest significant sums to improve the infrastructure of the JFB, I want to say from the floor of this House, a huge thank you to the firefighters in the field, and to the administrative staff who provide critical support.”