Over the past few months, the Environment & Natural Resources Committee (ENRC) and the Highways Authority (HA) have been actively progressing with legislation and other proposed work.
The Road Traffic Regulations are nearing completion with an anticipated implementation date of late-March/early-April. This has not been an easy task. However, the committee is now in the final stages of finalising the schedules and are working very closely with the Police Directorate and other relevant parties.
Parking in Jamestown has been, and still is, considered a problem and although several areas that could be converted into parking have been identified, there has been no success in obtaining them. Late last year, the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate (ENRD) had an Appeal turned down for the use of the upper part of what was originally the Duke of Edinburgh Playground. Despite this, Roads Manager, Deon Robbertse, and the Roads Inspector continue to explore Jamestown to locate potential additional parking areas. So far, there have been challenges with funding, heritage concerns and land ownership which ENRD are trying to tackle. It has also been suggested that a multi-storey car park be constructed but issues such as identifying a suitable area and funding is a major concern as construction costs would be high.
Plans are progressing for the Pedestrian Crossings, near the Canister in Jamestown, to include a disabled pathway/access. With the completion of works by Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc and their contractor on the refurbishment of Greenlands, the Taxi parking spaces will also be reinstated to their original location. By doing so, the current Taxi parking spaces on the main Stand and in front of the Canister will be removed and the spaces will be available for other vehicles.
A questionnaire on the Paid Parking Scheme will be issued shortly to all businesses in Jamestown to gather further information. The scheme cannot be introduced until adequate enforcement can be provided to make it work. The monies collected from the proposed parking charges would not be sufficient to provide this and the ENRC is reconsidering the budget to find other ways to address enforcement other than increasing the proposed charges.
The Roads Section has been active and although all necessary road works cannot be tackled due to shortage of resources, the team has performed well with the budget they are given to support these works. The current budget can only sustain minor road works and repairing together with a small amount for road work supporting infrastructure to include safety measures, retaining walls and safety barriers and underground drainage. The completion of the Roads 1 Project has brought its difficulties as larger road work projects cannot be accomplished and the Works Section has had to reluctantly make some of their workers redundant. Once again, a bid for additional funding for roads has been submitted and a response is awaited.
Emergency repairs have also been made to Sandy Bay Road and Ladder Hill Road along with daily roadworks. Currently, road repairs are being carried out throughout the Island. Road demarcation barriers have been replaced on the Field Road in Rupert’s area due to the age and corrosion of the previous barriers together with damage caused from being struck by a vehicle. Milling of the road from Ladder Hill through to the Three Tanks area is ongoing when staff are not required to work in other areas.
Road Safety is also high on the agenda and while reports have been received of speeding in several areas across the Island, the ENRC, together with the Roads Section, are seeking the correct deterrents to put in place. Unfortunately, lack of funding hampers the purchasing of much needed traffic calming equipment.
Members of the public may have noticed that the mirror has been removed from the area of Captain Wright’s Turning and relocated at a Lay-by near the Hutt’s Gate Vicarage to assist vehicles coming from the Willow Bank Access Road. The school crossing on the road near Pilling School is a new design to the Island and is only active when the ‘Lollipop’ Lady is within this demarcated zone and directing children to cross the road. Drivers have been made aware of this and to date have been cooperating efficiently. The ENRC also agreed that Bollards will be placed in the Public Gardens to deter illegal parking and to avoid damage to public vehicles when the ANRD contractor is working in the area. This will be for a trial period of three months in the first instance.
The Rock Guards have been kept busy in removing small rocks from the hillsides overlooking Jamestown and Rupert’s in a proactive programmme and on Tuesday, 20 February 2018, Rock Guards were called to the Half Tree Hollow (HTH) area overlooking Ladder Hill Road and Jamestown to survey a potential site where it was suspected rocks rolled from earlier that morning.
One of the ENRC’s and SHG’s main concerns is the desperate need for more Government Landlord Housing (GLH) and suitable land at affordable prices available to the public. Some of these problems have been addressed within the Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) at HTH where plots are now ready to construct GLH and plots could become available for the public to purchase, however there is a problem with the current sewerage system which is beyond its holding capacity for the HTH area. Until this sewerage issue can be resolved, all future planning applications for this area will be put on hold. This has a social impact on the Island and the economy as a whole and a positive way forward must be achieved soon but funding will need to be provided to address this problem no matter what system is approved.
Designs are ongoing for the CDA at Bottom Woods to also incorporate commercial development. It is envisaged that the layout design of this CDA can be completed soon and this will enable ENRD to move forward with works in the CDA zone whilst awaiting approval to continue in the HTH CDA. ENRD has also identified two other areas which could possibly be included in CDA projects but both need to meet the criteria before further developments can be approved.
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23 February 2018