BUDGET 2020/2021 MARCH 6, 2020 WRITTEN BY: DOUGLAS MCINTOSH
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says land has been identified to relocate the Church Corner landfill in St. Thomas, while an alternative location is being sought for the Doctors Road disposal site in Portland.
He was speaking at Tuesday’s (March 3) meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House, whose members were reviewing the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure.
The disposal sites are being relocated in light of stakeholder concerns over the potential environmental and health hazards both facilities pose at the present locations.
The Church Corner landfill is within proximity to the Morant Bay roundabout and Bustamante Bridge in St. Thomas, while the Doctors Road site is located relatively close to prime resort property in Portland.
Mr. McKenzie said the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has paid a deposit on the land to which the Church Corner landfill will be relocated, adding that negotiations to conclude the purchase are “well advanced”.
He indicated that the NSWMA has adhered to all protocols relevant to the establishment of the alternative landfill, and assured that the requisite due diligence was undertaken in the process of identifying the location, while adding that stakeholder consultations were facilitated.
“The entity has been working with the authorities, especially the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), in respect of the permit. So I [anticipate that] by the end of this calendar year, going into early next year, we [will see] the closure of the Church Corner facility, if all goes well,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie said $29 million will be allocated from the Ministry’s Parochial Revenue Fund, which supports the NSWMA’s work, to transport some 400 truckloads of solid waste from Church Corner to the Riverton City disposal site in Kingston.
The Minister indicated that the undertaking “will commence shortly” and last between six and eight months, adding that the funds will cover the cost for acquiring heavy-duty equipment, loading and trucking the garbage.
Regarding the Doctors Road disposal site, Mr. McKenzie cited challenges identifying a suitable alternative location within Portland.
He advised, however, that discussions are being held with the owners of the property on which the landfill is encroaching, adding that “we still are exploring finding alternative locations”.
“I have asked the NSWMA to work out a programme to see how best we can possibly deal with the issue surrounding Doctors Road landfill,” Mr. McKenzie further informed.