Treasure Beach Roads are Getting worse
Posted by Dresonic on January 24, 2007
Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth
St Elizabeth’s tourism product is being jeopardised by poor road conditions which, according to one hotel operator, are turning away business.
“It’s been like this since (Hurricane) Ivan and it’s turning business away,” said Kory South, operator of Sunset Resort at Calabash Bay in Treasure Beach.
According to South, who feels that the authorities have abandoned the area, tourists have had to wade through craters of waist-deep water to get to his property.
“We used to get lots of locals from Mandeville and Kingston,” he said. “They have stopped coming because they say the road mashing up them cars.”
National Works Agency (NWA) communications and customer service manager, Stephen Shaw, told the Observer West that a $35-million contract which was awarded to Construction Solutions Limited last November to fix the road will bring a reprieve anytime soon.
Shaw said work had not started due to the Christmas season.
“The contract has been signed and the contractor did a walk through of the area last week,” Shaw told the Observer West. “For all intents and purposes the work has started.”
But like several other residents that the Observer West spoke with, South, who has been in the area promoting community tourism for ten years was sceptical.
“I heard that story last year and the road is still bad,” he said.
He said nothing has worked including sending petitions showing pictures of the huge craters in the roads to the government including the minister of tourism, Aloun Assamba.
To further illustrate his point, South pointed to a canal that is presently being constructed in the community by the NWA to alleviate flooding as an example of the government’s tardiness.
“It’s been over a year and the canal is not even 10 per cent complete,” he said.
But Shaw refuted this claim. He said work on the canal has not stalled but that the NWA was currently carrying out investigations to ensure that two bridges that are to be constructed are built to the appropriate specifications.
“This thing cannot be done overnight,” he said. “It takes time.”
In the meantime, many motorists are expressing disgust with the state of the road.
Several pointed to damage that the road occasioned their vehicles and related how difficult it was to traverse the area from Pedro Plains to Treasure Beach on any given day.
The area, which is represented by Member of Parliament Donald Buchanan, is an example of successful community tourism. Events such as the Calabash Literary Festival, organised by Jason Henzell of Jakes and the annual 5k triathlon and the South Coast Jazz Festival organised by South has put the area on the map.
However, South said the triathlon was almost cancelled last year due to the condition of the pothole-filled road.
He said marl was used to fill the pot holes to allow the event to proceed but that this only created a dust nuisance which made matters worse.
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