The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will be financing the development of some 14 beaches across the island as part of its National Beach Development Programme.
Valued at an estimated $250 million, the project is aimed at equipping public beaches with recreational facilities for the enjoyment of locals and visitors to the island.
“This programme will involve the upgrading and upkeep of at least one beach from each parish,” said TEF Executive Director, Clyde Harrison.
Some of the beaches identified under the programme include: Burwood, Trelawny; Providence Park, Montego Bay; Norman Manley Beach Park, Negril; Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth; Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine; Salem, St. Ann; and Boston in Portland.
They will be equipped with children play areas; seating with tables; picnic areas and gazebos; restrooms and changing rooms; adequate parking; lifeguard towers; and utilities, inclusive of running water and electricity.
“We want to include kiosks for the comfort of the visitors and we want to make these as natural as possible so it does not take away from the beach and tropical feel….where possible we want to have concessionaires. For some beaches, we are even thinking of dual futsal (5-a-side football) and beach volleyball courts, and facility for beach football,” Mr. Harrison informed.
He said designs have already been done for 10 of the beaches with work underway at Boston, Norman Manley, and Providence Park.
The TEF Executive Director pointed out that community consultations are taking place to sensitise persons about the programme and how they will benefit.
In terms of maintenance, Mr. Harrison said the plan is to make these areas self-sustaining, through provision of water sports and other activities at a cost, in order to cover operational expenses.
The project is expected to be completed by December 2015.
By Kadian Brown
Photo by: Yhomo Hutchinson