Mandeville needs central government support to become third city, says mayor
The Mandeville market, located in the city center.
MANDEVILLE, Manchester – Mayor of Mandeville and chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation, Donovan Mitchell, says central government influence and funding is needed to expand Mandeville and realize its vision of becoming a city.
“There is a model that is there for what needs to be done, but politics is politics and all politics is local and except [if] you have the central government supporting you in this situation, because the council itself cannot do [it]. These are heavy capital outlays that need to be made, but I still believe Mandeville should be the third city because it has the potential,” he told the Jamaica Observer tuesday.
Mitchell was responding to Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ comment that before congestion Mandeville can consider becoming a town, good order and a proper development plan must be in place.
“…The city is going through a rapid phase of building and changing,” Holness said.
“You have to lay the foundation for a rational development plan which will include your traffic flow, proper parking, proper markets, etc., and then ask the private sector to say build according to that plan,” he added. .
Mitchell agreed with the Prime Minister that Mandeville had been developed without proper planning.
“We would understand the Prime Minister and we would have to understand that Mandeville’s expenditure – we can say – was developed ad hoc,” he said.
Mitchell said the municipality is now in dialogue with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to expand Mandeville’s boundaries.
“Now you can’t have a downtown where, less than a quarter mile from the center of town, that’s where the commercial district ends,” he said.
“The proposal is to expand the city to the Winston Jones Highway. So follow Winston Jones Highway on the right hand side towards Kingston to Williamsfield, go up Royal Flat and take a section [of] Knockpatrick and come back, so you probably want to look at a circumference of six miles,” he added.
Mitchell said work on the US$188 million May Pen to Williamsfield section of Highway 2000, which is progressing rapidly and is expected to be completed by the March 2023 deadline, will make Manchester more attractive.
The project – which will reduce travel time between Kingston, Mandeville and Points West – was originally due to complete in October 2022.
“People will be able to travel faster and the whole parish production and productivity will be different,” he said.
He continues to push for a “new Mandeville” to be built on 50 acres of land in Kingsland (west of the town centre).
“It would have been better because former Custos Dr Gilbert Allen and a team… fought and we got land in Kingsland,” he said.
The late former Custos of Manchester, Dr Allen, was instrumental in getting Alpart (Aluminum Partners of Jamaica) to donate the land, as they wanted to see Mandeville Courthouse move from the congested city to Kingsland.
The historic Mandeville Courthouse, believed to be the oldest building in downtown, was hit by fire on November 7, 2019. The blaze, which caused damage estimated at $35 million, forced authorities courts to move the trials to rented premises at James Warehouse Plaza, approximately 100 meters from the center of Mandeville.
In 2020 land was acquired for the construction of a new courthouse on Brumalia Road, off Caledonia Road, a few hundred meters north of the old courthouse. Soil testing was carried out at the site, adjacent to the Southern Regional Health Authority office in 2020.
Additionally, Mitchell said it would be difficult to reposition Mandeville’s existing downtown area.
MITCHELL…one would understand the Prime Minister and one would have to understand that Mandeville’s expenses – you can say – were developed ad hocKasey Williams