Entornointeligente.com / THE Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change will stage a virtual town hall on the Beach Access and Management Policy on Tuesday, February 2. Members of the public can watch and participate in the event, which will begin at 6:00 pm on the ministry’s Facebook page and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Facebook and YouTube pages.
Acting chief technical director in the ministry, Gillian Guthrie, told JIS News , that public consultations are under way on the policy, which is at the Green Paper (draft) stage.
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Through the document, the Government is seeking to increase access to the foreshore (wet sand or gravel area) and to improve the standard of the beaches available to the public.
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“The policy advocates for improved management of the public bathing beaches. The Government has already started a beach rehabilitation programme through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) with the support of the Tourism Enhancement Fund,” Guthrie said.
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She said that under the rehabilitation programme, several beaches have been de-bushed and recycle bins, sanitation facilities and various amenities installed
Guthrie issued a call for fishermen to participate in the town hall
“The Beach Access and Management Policy also speaks to the preservation of the prescriptive rights of fishermen, such as the right to ply their trade on beach lands, in addition to citizens’ right to visual and physical access of beaches, particularly the foreshore,” she said
The Beach Access and Management Policy provides that there should be at least one public beach in each parish where people can lawfully recreate
Guthrie said that once the Green Paper has undergone public and stakeholder scrutiny the document will be finalised and submitted to Cabinet for its consideration as a national policy
The ministry has, so far, executed five of the seven public consultations on the policy, including a media sensitisation session held on Thursday, January 14
“We have met with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), private sector stakeholders, public sector stakeholders and civil society organisations, so we want to engage members of the wider public through our upcoming town hall,” Guthrie said
She is encouraging members of the public to familiarise themselves with the policy and to take an active role in the policy-making process
The policy can be accessed at public libraries, as well as municipal corporations, and it is also available on the ministry’s website
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