Fish­ing for tourists

Ocho Rios Fish­ing Vil­lage up­grade tracks tourism cal­en­dar

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Janet Sil­vera Se­nior Gleaner Writer

THE PORT Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica says it is well on track to up­grade and trans­form the Ocho Rios Fish­ing Vil­lage in the par­ish of St Ann into a mod­ern fa­cil­ity.

The first of two phases is on schedule to be com­pleted by De­cem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to Leonard Bai­ley, se­nior civil en­gi­neer and pro­cure­ment spe­cial­ist at the Port Au­thor­ity, work on the $220-mil­lion project will in­ten­sify in the com­ing weeks with the hope of coin­cid­ing with the start of the win­ter tourist sea­son, which starts on De­cem­ber 15.

“For ex­pe­di­ency, we have di­vided the project into two phases,” said Bai­ley on a visit to the site on Wed­nes­day. “This way, we can meet our tar­geted dead­line and get things started.”

He said the new fa­cil­ity, to be man­aged by the Port Au­thor­ity, will boost the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal fish­er­men and other op­er­a­tors, and where vis­i­tors will be also able to en­joy lo­cal cul­ture and freshly caught seafood.

The up­grades to the vil­lage in­clude con­struc­tion of 14 shops and four restau­rants, as well as a spe­cial area for lo­cal fish­ers. The ma­jor­ity of the shops will be sell­ing lo­cal souvenir items, while the rest will be leased out as small bars, Bai­ley said.

“Two of the restau­rants will be medium-sized while the other two will be ma­jor spe­cial­ity-type eater­ies,” he added. “The souvenir shops, bars and the small restau­rants will all be a part of phase one while the two large restau­rants will be a part of Phase Two.”

The re­de­vel­op­ment of what was for­merly called the Sailor’s Hole Fish­ing Vil­lage is part of a tourism-re­lated trans­for­ma­tion plan for Ocho Rios, which in­cludes the Reynolds Pier and the cruise ter­mi­nal, and the side­walks from the piers lead­ing into Main Street.

It also comes fol­low­ing a tri­par­tite agree­ment signed last Novem­ber between the UDC, the Port Au­thor­ity, and the Sailor’s Hole Fish­er­men Benev­o­lent So­ci­ety for the com­plete trans­for­ma­tion of the fish­ing vil­lage.

RIGHT OF AC­CESS

The Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, the reg­is­tered owner of the land which the fish­er­men had oc­cu­pied for decades, trans­ferred own­er­ship rights to the Port Au­thor­ity, sig­nalling the go-ahead for what the agency termed “up­scale fa­cil­i­ties and right of ac­cess to the fish­er­folk to a mod­ern fish­ing bay tourism en­vi­ron­ment.”

“The com­plex will also in­clude a jetty for stor­age of fish­ing boats, lock­ers

A ps­sion­ate par­tic­i­pant speaks at the fo­rum ‘Pub­lic Sec­tor Work­ers: Ex­pec­ta­tions Be­yond March 2017’ hosted by the Hugh Law­son Shearer Trade Union Ed­u­ca­tion In­sti­tute at the HLSTUEI Lec­ture Room, UWI Mona, on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 20, 2016. Pres­i­dent of the Sailor’s Hole Benev­o­lent So­ci­ety Orville Grant re­moves the scales from a fish at the fish­ing vil­lage in Ocho Rios, which is be­ing up­graded, while a cruise ship sits in the back­a­ground. The on­go­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the Ocho Rios Fish­ing Vil­lage is partly meant to po­si­tion the fa­cil­ity as an eatery that can draw tourism busi­ness. for stor­age, fa­cil­i­ties for the scal­ing and gut­ting of fish and dis­posal of wa­ter used in the process, and also fa­cil­i­ties for vend­ing fish, and san­i­tary con­ve­niences,” Bai­ley added.

He said the vil­lage would not only be com­pa­ra­ble to other mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties in the Car­ib­bean, but is ex­pected to sig­nif­i­cantly boost the tourism for­tunes of Ocho Rios, mak­ing the re­sort town a first-choice des­ti­na­tion for trav­ellers.

MUCH IM­PROVED

“What you will see when we are through is a mod­ern fa­cil­ity with suf­fi­cient park­ing. The aes­thet­ics will be much im­proved ... an am­bi­ence to die for,” said Bai­ley.

“We will also have a stream that runs through the property and which will be prop­erly main­tained. This will be a fea­ture of the en­tire fish­ing vil­lage. In ad­di­tion, there will

be a prom­e­nade that will take you from the Reynolds Pier through the fish­ing vil­lage, through neigh­bour­ing Is­land Vil­lage, and right into the town of Ocho Rios,” he told Gleaner Busi­ness.

Pres­i­dent of the Sailor’s Hole Benev­o­lent So­ci­ety Orville Grant says he is con­fi­dent the re­de­vel­op­ment will re-es­tab­lish Ocho Rios as a premier port of call, giv­ing the fish­er­men and other busi­ness op­er­a­tors the op­por­tu­nity to earn much-needed for­eign ex­change.

“We as fish­er­men do wel­come this ini­tia­tive by the Port Au­thor­ity,” he said. “They have kept their word ev­ery step of the way and they have in­cluded us in all the dis­cus­sions, and we have been privy to all the plans,” said the fish­er­man.

“This is a step in the right di­rec­tion and Ocho Rios, and by ex­ten­sion, Ja­maica, can only ben­e­fit.”

PHOTO BY JANET SIL­VERA

The small fish­ing ca­noes that the fish­er­men use to catch fish daily are docked at the sea­side in Ocho Rios, while a cruise ship sits in the back­a­ground. The on­go­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the Ocho Rios Fish­ing Vil­lage is partly meant to po­si­tion the fa­cil­ity as an eatery that can draw tourism busi­ness.

JANET SIL­VERA PHOTO

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