MP calls for housing scheme roads to be transferred to municipal corporations

MEMBER of Parliament for St Ann North Western Krystal Lee is calling for a transitional arrangement for roads to be introduced as part of the conditions of approvals for large housing developments.

She is suggesting that roads within housing schemes be transferred to municipal corporations after a certain period.

This, she said, will address the long-standing issue of deplorable road conditions and other infrastructure within housing developments, including those done by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), the National Housing Trust (NHT), private developers, and to a lesser extent the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

“What obtains now is that when these roads deteriorate and fall into a state of disrepair, there is an expectation that the political representatives ought to effect repairs to these roads when they are neither classified as a parochial road or a NWA [National Works Agency] road,” Lee said while making her contribution to the 2022/2023 State of the Constituency Debate in Parliament on Wednesday.

She noted that, while housing developments are welcome in her constituency, residents in the communities of Belaire, Belaire Meadows, Cardiff Hall, Mount Edgecombe, Seacrest, Bridgewater, Hopewell Park, Minard Estate, and others “have been struggling with these issues for many years”. Lee said the issue not only exists in St Ann North Western but across other constituencies as well.

The MP said that while she is mindful that the NHT has embarked on a national programme to rehabilitate roads and other infrastructure in developments that were built by them, “there is a lacuna in our development approval process”.

She suggested that in establishing a transitional arrangement for roads within housing schemes, in the first instance, a clear timeline for the completion of the development ought to be set and adhered to.

“Secondly, developers — whether private or government developers — are to maintain these roads for 24 months, during which time the roads are to be transferred to the municipal corporation,” she posited.

Lee further suggested that developments by the HAJ and UDC that are currently having these problems roll out similar programmes to that of the NHT to rehabilitate these scheme roads and other infrastructure and, thereafter, transfer them to the municipal corporation.

“For those roadways within private developments, recognising that some of these developers have moved on, are no longer in business, or deceased, I recommend that the municipal corporation, in a structured way, perhaps by virtue of the age of these developments, take over these roads,” the MP suggested.

“This is a matter I have taken keen interest in, as I have seen the suffering of constituents who have bought into these developments. A lot of these persons have their titles and they are paying their property taxes,” she said.

Lee said that with a transitional arrangement in place, this will set the platform for government resources to be used over time in these developments — whether through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), the municipal corporation, or other agencies of government.

“Upon completion of the research and consultation, I will be tabling a motion in this honourable House so that this matter can be debated,” she added.

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