SPEAKING NOTES – DESMOND MALCOLM, GENERAL MANAGER (URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION)
I am pleased to be here this morning to celebrate the work of the UDC not just here in Hellshire, but all the way to old harbour bay, through this latest collaborative effort between the corporation, NEPA and our international partners.
We at the UDC consider ourselves to be partners in development with the communities within our designated areas. We believe that collaboration is integral to the success of our work and mission.
As you may be aware, the UDC’s role is usually that of being a catalyst. We seed projects and thereby facilitate the further development of other areas, and in so doing, create a range of opportunities for future growth and development.
This, I believe, is very clearly demonstrated in this area of south St Catherine where, following our pioneer work in Hellshire, and later, provision of social, residential and commercial solutions for Portmore, we now have what has evolved as one of Jamaica’s and indeed the Caribbean’s most vibrant urban areas.
Our desire to implement this NPAS initiative is not a departure from our core mission as we believe in holistic development. This can happen at many levels.
Over the past few months, we have been developing the awareness levels of individuals and communities through an intense public education drive as previously stated. This represents for us the softer but an equally essential part of our mission.
Hellshire was one of the first areas designated for development by the UDC. In fact, in 1967, prior to the creation of the UDC, the St. Catherine redevelopment company was established to undertake land acquisition and primary infrastructure to facilitate integrated development of the area.
Some of those projects include:
- The development of this very Fort Clarence beach complex
- Construction of roads and water mains to all development blocks, it may be hard to imagine now, but when the UDC started work in Hellshire there were no roads.
- Partnership with NHT to develop several housing blocks, the first of which was Hellshire Park Estate (south), with its associated social amenities
- Facilitated homeownership through the sale of individual lots
- Facilitated development of the 216 unit Hellshire Heights housing scheme by private developers in 1984
- Construction of cannon ridge, a 65 two bedroom housing development in upperfort
- In 1997 cave hill estate was built comprising 162 two bedroom duplex units
- Construction of 94 housing units in Hellshire Park, which were sold on the open market by the national housing trust.
- Infrastructure works including completion of four waste stabilisation ponds at a cost of approximately $80m and the Johnson Hill sewer line
- Refurbished two sisters caves
- Hellshire glades phase 1 and 11 residential units
An important component in all of this is our focus on the environment. Guided by our environmental management plan, the UDC seeks to develop its designated area, while protecting and conserving wildlife species, threatened species and eco-systems.
Through the work of our natural resource management and environmental planning department, we are proud to say that this delicate balance between development and the environment is being maintained.
As we continue to reach out to our communities, the UDC is committed to making development happen, but we know, that it is the people we serve, who must guide and support us in our efforts.
We say a big thank you to our staff who volunteered their time and effort in being trained. It is our hope that you have garnered sufficient experience from this training and the administration of these survey instruments, that will benefit you in your future endeavours. Without your participation the success realised from this project would not have been possible. To venture into the field, we say a big thank you also to you, our community persons, who unreservedly gave us the opportunity to train and empower you.
This certificate you are receiving today is a powerful tool that can be added to your resume and can give you a big advantage in a competitive work environment where everyone wants experienced workers.
What better company to gain experience with than the UDC which has almost all the major disciplines represented in its workforce.
Thank you again for coming and may god bless you all.