With the weather system that would become Hurricane Ian dumping incessant rain over Jamaica and the blockage of drains in the area, picturesque Bamboo Avenue in St Elizabeth has sustained damage.
Bamboo Avenue is located on the main South Coast Highway, between Middle Quarters and Lacovia in the parish of St Elizabeth. The avenue was planted out with Bambusa Vulgaris, a specie of bamboo which was the largest variety introduced in Jamaica.
The Ministry of Tourism sees the bamboo canopied two and a half mile stretch of road as a heritage site and a natural tourist attraction and are expediting J$8.5 million from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to assist with its rehabilitation.
Working in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, the aim is to plant 400 more bamboo trees, maintain the road and make the place more scenic.
Bamboo Avenue was created by planter John Gladstone, father of the late United Kingdom Prime Minister William Gladstone in the mid 1700s.
Questions have been asked as to why Bamboo Avenue has been allowed to go into a state of disrepair and the drains never been cleared.
MP for St Elizabeth North West, J.C. Hutchinson has absolved himself and says the question should be posed to the Agro Investment Corporation (AIC).
Speaking in Parliament earlier this year, Hutchinson said of Bamboo Avenue: “The emission of fumes from vehicles plying the route is one of the main causes for the destruction of some of the bamboo. I am requesting that an overhead bypass road be constructed starting at the entrance of Bamboo Avenue from the Lacovia end and extending across the Holland property to end a little beyond Middle Quarters.”
Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism, has suggested that some funds derived from tourists coming to Jamaica should be earmarked to help enhance, repair, maintain and build the country’s tourism product and its attendant amenities and attractions.