US$20m up­grade for Ocho Rios pier

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Janet.sil­vera@glean­erjm.com

THE MUL­TI­PUR­POSE Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios is slated for ma­jor up­grade, a move the Port Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica (PAJ) says will give the fa­cil­ity first-call sta­tus as one of the re­gion’s ma­jor ports.

Project Man­ager of the PAJ Christo­pher Hamil­ton said the project, which has an es­ti­mated cost of US$20 mil­lion, will be de­vel­oped to con­tinue serv­ing both industrial and cruise ship pur­poses, with lime­stone and su­gar likely to be ex­ported from the fa­cil­ity.

“Our in­ten­tion is to up­grade the space we have avail­able for the ground trans­porta­tion ... to free the con­ges­tion that cur­rently ex­ists,” Hamil­ton ex­plained.

“The plan also in­cludes a wa­ter­front prom­e­nade, which would take pas­sen­gers from Reynolds Pier to­wards the Ocho Rios town. This would in­cor­po­rate other at­trac­tions or fa­cil­i­ties that the PAJ is now work­ing on, in­clu­sive of a state-of-the-art fish­ing vil­lage re­de­vel­op­ment project next door.”

The PAJ, in part­ner­ship with the Sailor’s Hole Fish­er­man Benev­o­lent So­ci­ety, is cur­rently con­struct­ing a mod­ern tourism-re­lated fa­cil­ity at the Ocho Rios Fish­ing Vil­lage, ad­ja­cent to the Reynolds Pier, and which is ex­pected to be com­pleted in time for the De­cem­ber 15 win­ter tourist sea­son.

UL­TI­MATE GOAL

“The in­ten­tion is and will al­ways be to en­hance the en­vi­ron­ment ... to make it bet­ter,” Hamil­ton added. “Our ul­ti­mate goal is to im­prove the pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence to the point where cruise of­fi­cials will want to bring their ves­sels to Ocho Rios, and where Ja­maica on a whole will start to get more ships call­ing on our ports.”

Hamil­ton said the PAJ thought it pru­dent to cre­ate an aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing fa­cil­ity that would make it more cruise-friendly.

Ac­cord­ing to Hamil­ton, the en­tire look and feel of the pier would be greatly im­proved, be­gin­ning with the dis­man­tling of the su­gar load­ers which cur­rently pro­hibit the berthing of cruise ves­sels that are de­signed with the lifeboats pro­trud­ing be­yond the hull of the ves­sels.

“There will also be a new trans­porta­tion stag­ing area with a sim­i­lar lay­out to the Fal­mouth Ground Trans­porta­tion Cen­tre,” he re­vealed.

He ar­gued that over the years, there has been a de­cline in the num­ber of cruise pas­sen­gers vis­it­ing Ocho Rios, with the num­ber fall­ing from nearly 800,000 to about 400,000 pas­sen­gers per year.

Hamil­ton said the plan is to give the Reynolds Pier the kind of am­biance that is com­pa­ra­ble to the His­toric Fal­mouth Port in Trelawny, en­abling Ja­maica to have three of the finest port fa­cil­i­ties in the re­gion.

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