Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Noel Arscott, officially opened recently rehabilitated parochial roads at Springvale in Bog Walk and at Kelly Pen in Old Harbour Bay today.
This 1.5 km Springvale Road, which falls in the constituency of North-Central St. Catherine, was rehabilitated under the Parochial Roads Programme of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, and funded by the Ministry and the St. Catherine Parish Council. The project cost J$27 million, and involved earth works, drainage and pavement works inclusive of double surface dressing.
In commending the work done to restore the road, Minister Arscott said it holds great significance for the people of Springvale, as it is the main route out to neighbouring communities such as Content and Cameron. The Minister noted that the Springvale Road had deteriorated over a 40 year period, and said that this had negatively affected the economy and social development of the area, as farmers struggled to get produce to market and transportation providers largely avoided it, leading to the near closure of the Springvale Primary School.
The Minister of Local Government expressed confidence that the economy of Springvale will significantly improve because of the rehabilitation works.
The message was that of community care for public investment, when the Minister toured and officially opened the road at Kelly Pen in Old Harbour Bay, which falls in the constituency of South-West St. Catherine. The area, which features livestock rearing as its chief economic activity, is also the official route for moving people out from Kelly Pen, to Port Esquivel to Freetown, should the threat of disaster or an actual disaster occur.
The works for the .652 km Kelly Pen Road project included Site Clearance and the Resurfacing of the roadway, at a cost of J$14 million. This project was also financed by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the St. Catherine Parish Council.
In stating that the road improvements demonstrated tax dollars at work, Minister Arscott urged full Property Tax compliance. “Property Taxes are critical to our Ministry’s efforts to fix roads like these all over Jamaica, under the Parochial Roads Programme. Over the last three years we have spent over J$6 Billion to repair over 520 kilometres (327 miles) of road. We have cleaned 3,475 kilometres (2,159 miles) of drains, and we have done bushing works along 2,256 kilometres (1,401 miles) of road. We have a Property Tax target of J$7.26 billion to meet this year, and collections are just over J$5 billion. We want to close the revenue gap, so that you can receive even greater service from us.”