New development orders for Kingston and St Andrew ready
THE DRAFT development orders for Kingston and St Andrew have been reviewed by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC) and steps are being made by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to get feedback from the public before completing the process.
Peter Knight, chief executive officer of NEPA, told The Gleaner that his agency is now working to complete a development order for Portmore, St Catherine.
In a follow-up performance audit of NEPA, which was tabled in Parliament last week, Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis indicated that the agency had made considerable strides in preparing new development, orders for a number of parishes.
FIRST PERFORMANCE AUDIT
In addition to Kingston and St Andrew, the development order for St Elizabeth was returned to NEPA in August this year from the chief parliamentary counsel. When the Auditor General’s Department conducted its first performance audit of NEPA in 2010, the oversight body complained that some development orders needed to inform planning decisions were 30 years old. As part of its mandate, NEPA is required to prepare development orders for land use in all parishes. The orders are intended to facilitate economic, environmental, cultural, physical and social growth and development.
“We are now working with the printing office to publish the notice in the newspapers – we have to publish them for a period to give landowners and lawyers a chance to look at how their lands are being classified and the uses to which they are put,” said Knight, in relation to the three latest orders completed by NEPA.
“Once we get those comments, we would collate it and see if they are acceptable. If they are not, we would go back to the Town and Country Planning Authority for ratification, then go back to the CPC and then we publish them as confirmed orders,” Knight added. Development orders for Manchester, Negril and Green Island in Hanover, Portland and Trelawny were confirmed by the portfolio minister in April and May 2015.
NEPA indicated that a draft development order for Portmore would be completed by July 2017. At the same time, the performance audit showed significant improvement in the public body’s response to environmental threats reported by members of the public. The auditor general reported that NEPA investigated 90 per cent of complaints during the period April 2010 to March 2015. This compares with 42 per cent reported in a previous audit of the agency by the Auditor General’s Department. NEPA has also stepped up its enforcement activities over the period under review. Enforcement activities for the period April 2010 to March 2015 totalled 3,604. This compares with 922 for the previous period of assessment.