Planning commission resurfaces at city after three years of inaction

Nearly three years after the Georgetown City Council voted to establish a National Capital Planning Commission, a framework for its operations is being formalized.

Deputy Mayor Alfred Mentore announced at Monday’s statutory meeting that he was due to meet with Roger Rogers of the Ministry of Communities to formalize the “Commission and what it will mean for the City of Georgetown.” 

The idea of the commission was first introduced by President David Granger when he addressed the Council in July 2016.

In keeping with President Granger’s vision, the objective of the commission would be to create policies that would chart urban renewal in the city.

Granger had said the body could review past and future plans for the capital as well as outline issues that would be addressed.

“The city must be sanitary, it must be clean. We all aim at a clean city, a green city, a serene city, a safe city,” he had said.

One week after Granger’s presentation then Mayor Patricia Chase-Green convened an extraordinary meeting at which councillors voted to set up the Commission to guide the development of the city.

At the meeting, 23 councillors, including then Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan, voted for the  commission, while Councillor Salima Bacchus-Hinds, of the Team Benschop for Mayor group, abstained.

Chase-Green had argued that the lifespan of the council is short and, therefore, they needed to act while the Town

Clerk Royston King had declared that council was moving at a “snail’s pace” in crafting policy.

Following hours of discussion a decision was taken for councillors to submit their written recommendations for the Terms of Reference in one week, after which King was to be tasked with crafting a draft policy and presenting it to the next statutory council meeting in two weeks.

There is still no TOR for the commission.

Granger, during his address to the council, had said that any urban plan created by it must be based on what is required in the city. The prospective plans, he said, must also aim to be a collaboration with the Central Government, the Central Housing and Planning Authority and the Ministry of Communities and organisations they would be working with to develop the capital city.

The Head of State had emphasised that keen interest must be placed on the location of entertainment hubs and business complexes, which he said ought not to intrude into areas designated as residential zones.

“Locations should be identified for the construction and development of aesthetically picturesque roadways and malls, arcades for vendors,” he added, while urging that these be created to ensure that every vendor is placed under a roof and not be exposed to elements which would prevent them from earning an income.

“There is no need, decade after decade, for poor citizens who are trying to make a living, [to] be exposed to the elements… let us see what could be done to expand and extend markets and give those poor vendors roofs over their heads,” he said.

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