New Guidelines for granting of development approvals were launched at a ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

The Guide outlines a set of procedures and makes reference to a number of standards and/or requirements that are relevant and applicable to the subdivision and development of land across the island. This has been necessitated by the fact that the design and calculation procedures applied in most of the hydraulic reports currently only consider the project site and not the entire watershed. Additionally, some of the existing guidelines are not suitable as they do not account for increased frequency and intensity of meteorological weather systems as forecasted by climate change projections.

Keynote speaker at the Launch, Transport, Works & Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon Omar Davies noted that an important goal of the Ministry and the NWA is to ensure physical infrastructure improvement that facilitates the livelihood and safety of individuals, families and communities.

Continuing he said, “As Jamaica continues to experience a shortfall in housing solutions, the need to increase the delivery of housing units persists. In view of this situation, the need to balance development with Disaster Risk Management imperatives has become even more relevant. The preparation of hydraulic reports to inform the development of subdivisions nationally is an important tool used to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction into the development planning process.”

The work of putting the Guidelines together has been a collaborative one and includes a number of other stakeholders, namely:

The Ministry of Local Government and local Authorities

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM)

The Water Resources Authority

The National Environment Planning Agency

The Jamaica Institution of Engineers as well as the

The Mines and Geology Department

Deputy Director at ODPEM, Mr. Richard Thompson in his presentation said that disasters can devastate the country’s infrastructure at any time and against that background, the launch of the new Guidelines was timely.  

For is part Basil Fernandez, Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority hailed the collaborative approach that was taken in putting the publication together. He noted that the Book set out some of the solutions to flooding that has taken place over many years.

Mr Kenji Tobita and Mr Hiromoto Oyama who represented the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica respectively, spoke of their country’s involvement in getting the publication launched. Both said they were pleased to have done their part in contributing to the final product.

 

Local Government Minister, Hon Noel Arscott said his Ministry was pleased to be a part of the sustained efforts to find the solution to balance development with disaster risk management while Minister without portfolio in charge of Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy said the new guidelines would assist in mitigation efforts where possible disasters were concerned.