Blue Lagoon closure hailed – Jamaica Observer

Visitors enjoying the waters of the Blue Lagoon.

PORT ANTONIO, Portland — Portland stakeholders have welcomed the news that the popular Blue Lagoon attraction will be closed in a few weeks, renovated and renamed.

The Blue Lagoon is a major tourist attraction and heritage site located in San San, East Portland.

Last Wednesday, Jamaica Heritage Trust chairman Orville Hill told stakeholders it would be closed to commercial activity from August 29. The attraction will undergo a three-phase overhaul that will begin with cleaning up the area, upgrading the facilities, and then resuming operations in an organized fashion.

Over the years, there have been complaints about the attraction’s decay, lack of sanitary amenities, and general disorder among those operating in the space.

Chief Executive of the Alligator Head Foundation, Nicky Myers is among those who have embraced the plan.

“There have been a number of incidents and the conversations have been going on for years. [Last Wednesday] we had a multi-party meeting which was a success and which can serve as a model for managing other things around the island. We have had many people from different agencies come together – private, public and not-for-profit, non-governmental – with the goal of building capacity within our community and preserving what is best for our country,” she said. said.

“It is a space of incredible beauty, not only aesthetically, but also environmentally, an exceptional space that we want to celebrate, preserve and honor. It is an opportunity to support the members of the community who are there and have been asking for help for years. We have been able to bring stakeholders together to find the help they need to do what needs to be done. We hold everyone here accountable for achieving the three phases that have been identified,” she added.

According to Hill, the third phase of the project will see the resumption of controlled atmosphere activities. Factors considered will include the capacity of the area and the number of people who can comfortably operate in the space.

Craft items for sale at the popular attraction. (Photos: Everad Owen)

“People will be duly authorized, trained [regarding] not only how they operate in the water, but with the visitors who come there. We must ensure that the product we distribute complies with all legal requirements,” he warned.

He hinted that rafting could be among the reduced activities once the attraction reopens.

“Saltwater rafting is really not allowed under Jamaican law; it’s for the waterways. It’s also a challenge,” Hill said.

12-year-old Blue Lagoon Alliance chairman Colin Beckford was among those who welcomed the initiative, even though it will create a temporary financial challenge for its members. He, too, thinks it will solve a number of issues that have plagued the attraction for years.

Customers enjoying a meal at the Blue Lagoon.

“The Blue Lagoon is overcrowded and overrun with outside people who come into space and operate a business. I am very satisfied with the meeting that took place. The Blue Lagoon Alliance has been set up for the future development The main objective is to contribute to the future development We are satisfied with the results of the meeting and [are] totally agree with the decision,” he said.

He hopes that the work will be done quickly so that the negative financial impact is brief.

“The closure will be a very big setback for us as it is approaching back to school, so it will be very, very difficult economically for us during this time. We are looking forward to the rapid rebranding and opening,” he said. -he declares. .

Among the improvements planned and eagerly awaited is the installation of sanitary facilities.

According to Hill, there is currently a “health risk” as there is “no structured form of sanitary facilities for people visiting”.

Leonard “Captain Fox” Grant, who operates a boat to San San, Monkey Island and the Blue Lagoon, is among those eagerly awaiting this change.

“I’ve been here for almost 40 years and I don’t have a toilet, it’s a shame. Some people want to pee and…have to go out into the bush and around. Having a toilet is good and I’m ok with the closure. he said.

—Everard Owen

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