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CONSULTATION ON NPDP HIGHLIGHTS SERIOUS DEVELOPMENT TREND
Thursday 1st September 2011

Critical development and planning related issues which highlight the lack of stringent policies were brought to the forefront, as the public consultative process on the National Physical development Plan (NPDP), gets underway.
 
Wednesdays Night, stakeholders spanning various agencies, the public and officials from the public sector added their voice to the draft Sustainable Island Resource Management Zoning Plan (SIRMZP), during a consultation held at the Multipurpose Cultural centre.
 
The consultation was among series of advocacy being planned to receive feedback on the draft document, which will serve as a guideline for strategic, national spatial development framework that addresses current flaws, and provides the platform for feasible private and public sector expansion.
 
Ato Kentish, Surveyor during his contribution, said serious considerations should be given to economic and social policies. The latter, he explained will entail guidelines for compensation to landowner of reclaimed properties.
 
He also stressed the need for the SIRMZP to identify hotbeds for squatting, and updated information to satisfy the needs as reflected in housing and population census.
 
Sebastien Paddington, Consultant of GENIVAR Trinidad and Tobago, assured the gathering that their comments were being taken into account and is reflected in the plan which is updated as critical information is received. He said however, provisions were not be made for economic policy, which would be developed at a later stage by the Economic and Policy Planning Unit (EPPU), in the Ministry of Finance.
 
 Other concerns expressed were that the SIRMZP should include measures to facilitate persons living with disability in the planning and development process, zoning for prisons, family protection zones, Free Trade Zones, legislations for cell towers, historical sites, cemetery and the reclamation of the delicate eco-system.
 
Paddington stressed the importance of the process and urged residents to send their comments on the draft document within the next two-weeks, on the SIRMZP which is being developed under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment and the Development Control Authority (DCA), as a component of Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project entitled, “Demonstrating the Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Island Resource Management Mechanism (SIRMM).”
 
Agriculture and the Environment Land Management were also touted; and Ivor Jackson of Ivor Jackson and Associates told residents and officials gathered at the consultation that “in the planning process going forward watersheds provide critical geography.”
 
Jackson also stressed the importance of protecting “productive agricultural lands, by mopping, both, that of public and private. It could either be set aside by law, which will be enough to satisfy the country’s food supply over a period of time.”
 
The final draft, which is expected to be submitted to cabinet on October 14 highlights five key planning goals, to maintain and enhance eco-system integrity, foster economic development and engaging livelihoods, enhance livability, improve accessibility and promote efficient and effective governance.
 

 
Paddington said the draft SIRMZP of Antigua & Barbuda including Redonda presented in a series of layers that address primary goals with respect to the biophysical environment, environmental protection and risk and resource area. This is followed by a series of maps depicting economic development zones for a range of activities, such as tourism and industry, which relate to the Economy and Livelihood goal.
 
 Paddington noted the plan is in eight sections. According to the consultant   sections 7 and 8 are not included in the draft version of the SIRMZP. “It is intended that these sections will be developed interactively with the DCA, which will be in charge of managing the planning and developing.”

Section seven, will examine Land Use and Development Control Policies, relating to Development control administrative structure, planning and development control process and development control guidelines for discrete spatial units.
 
While section eight, deals with the implementation process in these phases the immediate actions, short-term actions and long-term actions.
 
The process is expected to take approximately 20 –years.
 
The consultation was held at the Barbuda Council on Thursday with a follow –up at the All Saints Secondary School.       


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