- Published: 02 March 2020
A "futuristic” long term development plan aimed at transforming Blue Hills into a modern ‘smart city’ will be created soon despite some setbacks.
That is according to Hon. Goldray Ewing, Minister of Home Affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation.
The minster’s Blue Hills Masterplan will include a redesign, repositioning and rezoning of the heavily populated community, he said.
It will map out the development of a technologically advanced city with its own train system and magnetised roadways for hover cars.
Ewing, who first touted the plan some two years ago, explained during an interview on Radio Turks and Caicos on February 10 that it has encountered some snags.
"I’m disappointed that it moved so slow, but that’s life. I was pushing this from the time I was in the Opposition.
"I did not expect this much pushback but we’re here and we’re about to launch it. It was out for tender; the tender is closed and someone should have won the tender.
"I hope it’s someone who is knowledgeable of our area so that they can also put their input in.”
He explained that he will be having town hall meetings with the Blue Hills constituents to "get their feedback on everything that has been put forward”.
Ewing said that residents "must and should” attend the meetings to explain what they want to see.
TCI’s first ‘smart city’
Ewing’s ambitious plan will serve as a pilot project for the infrastructural enhancement of other communities across the Islands, he said.
"Basically the entire overarching concept of the Blue Hills Masterplan is futuristic.”
He said a main focus of the plan will be the public transportation system which is wrapped around a train system in and out of that settlement.
"So we don’t really need the bus system - that’s old school. We need to get to the point where technology is at the forefront of everything we do, not only technology but efficiency.
"Being efficient in what you do and cost effective is basically what we will be looking at and implementing the ‘smart city’ programmes and processes that we want to incorporate in the Blue Hills Masterplan.
"That is well on its way. I must say I’m not happy with the progress but it’s happening it’s moving.
"I am one who would celebrate when that comes to conclusion and we have a document in our hands to say how we want that area to develop, where we want certain things to be built, how high we want those things to be built, how far the setback is from the shoreline.”
The all-encompassing plan will outline future roads, housing and commercial development in the community.
Ewing said the plan will specify: "Where roads are going to go, where drainage is going to go, where commercial land is going to be, where commercial residential land is going to be.
"In terms of vehicles and transportation, what type of vehicles could come into that area.”
He stressed that it is a long-term plan of 18 to 20 years that will see the area develop into a "modern smart city”.
In keeping with the smart city vision, Ewing explained that technologically advanced roadways will be constructed.
"We’re looking basically at all roadways having magnetic strips in them so that if you buy a hover car you can use that hover car in that area but the hover car would be difficult to use outside of that area because the roadways are not prepared to handle that type of traffic.
"But obviously, people might be saying, ‘wow you’re talking about hover cars’ but these things don’t touch the road and it is less wear and tear on the road system.
"Like I said were moving into the modern age, we have to be forward looking.
"The world in itself is changing around us every day and for us to be attractive to new development, new investors we have to change with it.
"If we have regulations and laws in place already to entertain that kind of development and that type of activity then we will be looked at as a favourite place to spend real, good money.”
The home affairs minister said that although the Blue Hills Masterplan could be viewed as overly ambitious to some, the TCI is capable of accomplishing this feat.
He said: "The concept for the Blue Hills area is one that is out of a book almost like a fairy-tale, but its real because technology has come of age where we don’t have to fantasise anymore. It’s reality.
"And once you have a plan and you can execute that plan, things become so much easier.
"If investors know they can do this and do that in this area without challenges, without these appeals coming, then it makes it easier for them to make up their mind where they want to invest their money.
He stressed that he has not forgotten Turks and Caicos Islanders or Blue Hills residents in his plan.
"We want to organise the Blue Hills area whereby you can have a metropolitan area and the same time an urban city.
"Restaurants might be all over the place, hotels might be all over the place, but we need medical service, fire service, banking and financial service.
"All of them have to be on their own stretch of avenue so it’ll make it easier for people to do business in that area.”
Autor(en)/Author(s): Olivia Rose
Quelle/Source: Turks and Caicos Weekly News, 24.02.2020