Fort Char­lotte pre­lim works be­gin

Jamaica Gleaner - - WESTERN FOCUS - Clau­dia.gardner@glean­erjm.com

PHASE ONE of the ren­o­va­tion works at the his­toric Fort Char­lotte in Lucea, Hanover, com­menced re­cently as a pre­cur­sor to the restora­tion and preser­va­tion works sched­uled for the 255-year-old na­tional mon­u­ment.

Sev­eral di­lap­i­dated struc­tures, which once housed the Na­tional Works Agency, have been knocked down and the rub­ble re­moved.

The Fort Char­lotte prop­erty is owned by the Hanover Par­ish Coun­cil. The restora­tion project is be­ing funded by the Tourism En­hance­ment Fund and su­per­vised by the Tourism Prod­uct Devel­op­ment Com­pany (TPDCo).

“We have de­mol­ished all the build­ings that were un­sound. We are go­ing to be retrofitting one or two. We are go­ing to be do­ing some work on the ar­moury be­cause it is the only his­tor­i­cal build­ing out­side of the fort,” Mayor of Lucea Wyn­ter McIn­tosh told Western Fo­cus.

“We are go­ing to be do­ing paving of the car park. Then, from the Hanover Par­ish Coun­cil per­spec­tive, we are go­ing to be putting up bath­room fa­cil­i­ties. We are go­ing to be putting in one or two craft shops for now tem­po­rar­ily. We are go­ing to be putting in the guard rails and the seats and a tick­et­ing booth,” the mayor added. McIn­tosh said pro­jec­tions are that the fort will be ready to of­fi­cially ac­com­mo­date vis­i­tors within the first quar­ter of 2017.

“So the fort will be op­er­a­tional within an­other six months. We are hop­ing a that a small fee will be charged just for main­te­nance pur­poses be­cause cer­tainly, the fa­cil­ity will have to be main­tained, and we plan to pro­vide some ser­vices to peo­ple, so we The ex­ca­va­tion equip­ment be­ing used in the de­mo­li­tion ex­er­cise at Fort Char­lotte. To the right is the fort’s old ar­moury.

will have an in­for­ma­tion desk,” he ex­plained.

“The big pic­ture is to have one or two of the fran­chises – KFC, Burger King – and a state-of-the art restau­rant and also a lo­cal restau­rant so tourists and our lo­cals can have some­where they can sit and have a proper meal and have some recre­ational time.”

Fort Char­lotte was built in 1761 by

the Bri­tish, for the de­fence of the north westerly sec­tion of Jamaica, dur­ing the reign of King George III of Eng­land (who was of Ger­man an­ces­try), and was named af­ter his wife Queen Char­lotte.

In Septem­ber 2014, for­mer Tourism Min­is­ter Dr Wyke­ham McNeill, ac­com­pa­nied by his per­ma­nent sec­re­tary and other se­nior tourism of­fi­cials, toured sec­tions of Lucea, in­clud­ing Fort Char­lotte. The min­is­ter had de­clared that re­me­dial works must be car­ried out at the fort as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

A pro­posal for the fort’s restora­tion also fell through more than 15 years ago. In 2001, the TPDCo had al­lo­cated $2 mil­lion for the com­mence­ment of restora­tion works at the fort; how­ever, it failed to get off the ground due to a dis­pute be­tween the coun­cil and the Na­tional Works Agency, whose par­ish of­fices were sited at the prop­erty.

The TPDCo plans for the fort had in­cluded re­tain­ing its Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­tural style and the con­struc­tion of fa­cil­i­ties such as an am­phithe­atre, a mu­seum, restau­rants, and gift shops.

PHOTO BY CLAU­DIA GARDNER

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