Roseau, Dominica – August 26, 2008……..Parliamentary Representative for the Portsmouth Constituency and Minister for Tourism, Hon. Ian Douglas, is pleased with proposals in a draft report on the future development of the town of Portsmouth prepared by the Portsmouth Citizens Planning Commission.
Hon. Ian Douglas made the statement last week during a Town Hall Meeting between the citizens of the Portsmouth community and the members of the Portsmouth Citizens Planning Commission.
After years of listening to ideas and suggestions from various groups and individuals about the needs of Portsmouth, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt suggested that all those ideas should be collated and a development plan for the Town be prepared.
Following several public meetings initiated by the Portsmouth Town Council and the Portsmouth branch of the Dominica Labour Party, the Portsmouth Citizens Planning Commission was established. The Commission comprises persons from the Portsmouth community with skills and expertise in the areas of law, agriculture, business, tourism, history, engineering and education.
Headed by Historian, Dr. Lennox Honychurch, the Commission met weekly for six months and interviewed a wide cross-section of groups and individual experts in the preparation of a development plan. Studies and reports on the future development of Portsmouth helped inform the draft, including the Shankland and Cox report of the early 1970s.
The thirty-two page (32) document contains a number of recommendations and ideas on the future development of Portsmouth. The report defines Portsmouth from Bell Hall at Douglas Bay in the north to Point Ronde in the south and extending eastwards into the hills behind.
The key recommendations in the draft report include:
· The development of Portsmouth as a ‘Green City’.
· There is urgent need for designating the Indian River as a protected zone with the necessary buffer zone along its banks to protect the flow and cleanliness of the river
· With Point Ronde identified as an industrial and shed rental zone, report says there is need to work towards the establishment of an Information and Communication Technology(ICT) Park, and to establish industrial/commercial parks within the chosen industrial area for light manufacturing
· Major private landowners and special interests in the Portsmouth area should be approached as the future expansion and development of the Town hinges heavily on the sale/acquisition of these lands
· Concept of University Town should be developed. The Picard settlement bounding the Picard River Southwards to Tibay should be further developed into a University Town. Lands around this zone should be demarcated to accommodate other universities and Colleges (not a medical school) and related industries. University Town concept should accommodate both the expansion of the present Ross University , Housing and the new institutions
· Improvements to the physical environment of Ross University to include improved security, sidewalks, lighting, garbage disposal etc
· The development of a Sewerage system for Portsmouth
· Attention must be paid to drainage because of the low-lying nature of the Town
· A housing development programme for Chance, Georgetown and elsewhere should be undertaken
· The development of a yacht marina
· The development of an Administrative Building to house the Police Station, Court House, Sub-Treasury, Post Office and other government offices on lands now part of Sugar Loaf Estate
· Roads, sidewalks and drainage improvements for Portsmouth
· The development of the Indian River Tour Dispatch Area
· Re-development of the Portsmouth Bay Front to include the extension of the old Portsmouth jetty, removal of all the wrecks in the harbour, measures to relieve traffic congestion in the main streets and the provision of commercial access and new opportunities for businesses facing onto the sea
· Continue to push for the construction of the Fisheries Complex by the Japanese with sea defence and sea front expansion included
· Need for a container port with necessary space and infrastructure to service and store containers and to provide for dry dock facilities
· The establishment of a Creole Quarter. This Quarter will be a major commercial and cultural district where small Creole guest houses and hotels should be encouraged but also restaurants of World Creole Cuisine, Night Clubs with Creole music and dance
· Mini recycling plant should be built to manage non biodegradable materials( glass bottles, plastic bottles, foam cups and related apparatus
· A Portsmouth Disaster Coordinating Authority with direct communication links to Dominica’s central disaster mitigation centre should manage a comprehensive disaster preparedness and mitigation plan
According to Parliamentary Representative for Portsmouth, Hon. Ian Douglas, the draft development plan for Portsmouth has been presented to the Ministry of Urban Renewal for its review. It is now expected that members of the Portsmouth Citizens Planning Commission will meet with the Ministry of Urban Renewal in the next few days.
In the meantime the document has been widely circulated in Dominica and abroad for further input and discussion. Persons can communicate their comments and contributions on the draft document at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final report according to the Commission must be accompanied by a concept design and zoning plan that will remain as a guideline for the development of Portsmouth for generations to come. The report will be submitted to Cabinet later this year.