CH&PA to enforce land use rules around Ogle By Jaime Hall
Guyana Chronicle
August 3, 2004

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WITH the Ogle airstrip set for further development and upgrading to a municipal airport to serve international, regional and domestic flight destinations, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is seeking to enforce land use control measures in the Ogle aerodrome and flight-path areas.
Chief Executive Officer of the authority, Ms Myrna Pitt, during a presentation last Thursday at Ogle, outlined the proposed regulations and said land use control in areas around airports has always been a matter of serious concern to the agency.

She said instances of squatting and unauthorised economic activities around Guyana's two major airports (at Timehri and Ogle) can be seen as a direct result of non-effective land use control.

Reaction to these problems is often sporadic and ad hoc in nature - a reactive rather than proactive intervention, she noted.

In this context, the government's response in targetting and resolving the issue takes place without the benefit of an acceptable legal regulatory framework for dealing with such matters, she told stakeholders at the meeting.

Pitt said that with these issues in mind, the CH&PA, in efforts to fully support the objectives of the Air Transport Reform Programme in Guyana, sees great justification in having a regulatory framework to better protect and manage the land use development process around airports.

Ogle Airport Zoning Regulations (OAZR) were prepared by the CH&PA, the agency with the statutory responsibility for zoning of land.

In the process of enforcing the regulations, Pitt said, public awareness and full stakeholder support were considered essential.

Some of the necessary skills required for the preparation of these regulations were drawn from outside the CH&PA, which she considered a good example of inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

Recognising the highly technical nature of the regulations, a Technical Consultative Committee (TCC) was set up to prepare the draft, she recalled.

The committee comprises representatives of the Town & Country Planning Department of the CH&PA, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Air Transport Reform Programme (ARTP) of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications, the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ogle Airport Incorporation (the developers).

CH&PA and the respective local authorities are responsible for enforcing the regulations under their legal mandate.

This would, however, be done through a coordinated, inter-agency approach involving key agencies such as the GCAA, CH&PA officials explained.

For any development within the specified zones to occur, the GCAA must give a `No Objectioní before a construction permit is granted, Pitt said

An Indian expert in town planning, Mr Mukul Gupta, explained that any person who wishes to apply for development permission within any of the specified zones would first have to apply to the local authority/city council.

The local authority would then send that application to the CH&PA for observation before it is forwarded to the GCAA for a `No Objectioní and to the EPA for clearance, he said.

The application would have to be presented to the CH&PA Board for approval and the decision of the board would then be communicated to the applicant.

The anticipated impact of the regulations would call for a review of developmental proposals in areas such as the north eastern part of Georgetown, including the entire section east of Sheriff Street, Gupta explained.

Areas falling contiguous to the north eastern boundary of Georgetown, further east to Sophia up to La Bonne Intention (LBI), including land adjacent to the sea wall public road and the railway embankment road, fall within these limits.

The new Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat building and Convention Centre, the University of Guyana campus, and existing residential and industrial areas all fall within this zone, he pointed out.

Additionally, all land along the East Bank public road, from Agricola to Little Diamond and the proposed cricket stadium at Providence, fall within the zoning regulations, he said.