City Manager’s Newsletter – 4th September, 2008

Road Town and You!

 

 

Road Town Then and Now: A Workshop

 

Taxi drivers and/or tour operators are invited to register for the City Manager’s Tuesday, 30th September half-day workshop which will provide information on the capital’s historical sites, its attractions, and the people who made Road Town and the Territory what it is today.  The charge for the workshop is $10.00.  Road Town Then and Now will begin at 9:30 at the Training Division in the Ward Building.  To register or for more information, call the City Manager’s Office at 494-3701, ext. 2009 today.

 

 

Fun!  Fun!  Fun!

 

The Family Support Network and Rite Way Supermarkets will host a Family Fun Day on Saturday, 20th September at the Noel Lloyd/Positive Action Movement Park starting at 10:00am.  Bring out the entire family for a day’s worth of great entertainment, good food and exciting contests!

 

Good Tree Care

 

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to survey your trees to identify any weak or diseased branches.  An improperly cut tree or one that has suffered some type of wound requires care if you want to prevent unsightly and hazardous decay and minimize storm damage.  First, clean the wound by trimming away loose or damage bark.  Second, shape the wound into a vertical oval if possible.  Third, remove any other dead, dying or weak branches which might be sapping the tree’s ability to heal itself.  Finally, water and properly fertilize the tree to help it regain its strength.

 

Feature (the following is excerpted from the City Manager’s Annual Report 2007)

 

Recommendations

 

 

  1. The failing sewage system is the worst problem facing the capital and should be addressed as a matter of priority.  The Office of the City Manager receives complaints about sewage overflows and the noxious smells rising in various parts of Road Town on a weekly basis.  Several internet blogs written by visitors to the island have also mentioned the smell.  The Office recommends that the Road Town Sewage Improvement Plan developed sometime ago be implemented as a matter of priority.

 

  1. The issue of traffic and parking requires a comprehensive and sustainable plan to ameliorate the strain on the present road system and on parking availability.  Road Town represents the highest concentration of public and private sector offices, schools, and recreational spaces which means that every day thousands of residents and visitors pour into the capital, usually in SUVs, and usually one person or, at the most, two to each automobiles.  The Town and Country Planning Department estimates that 25 acres of land in Road Town is allotted to parking.  Each year, hundreds more cars are added to the number already on the roads and the response from government has been to add more roads or to widen existing roads.  This is not a sustainable response.  Neither is it a response that demonstrates any sensitivity to global climate change concerns.  The Office urges the development of a comprehensive traffic and transportation plan that addresses itself to issues of public transportation, dis-incentives for driving, alternatives to the automobile, and pedestrianisation.  The Territory can learn much from how other, bigger, cities are dealing with these same issues in ways that are respectful of environmental concerns and which de-emphasize car dependency.

 

  1. The establishment of a coordinating team composed of members from the various relevant agencies such as the City Manager’s Office, and the Public Works, Solid Waste, Environmental Health, Electricity, Water and Sewage, Town and Country Planning, and Police Departments is essential to improving government’s response to the needs of the capital.  This team should be mandated to respond to identified issues and problems in the capital in a timely way and would essentially function as Road Town’s own CitiStat team.  (CitiStat is a reporting mechanism adapted in the United States from the ComStat programme.  It is now in use in several cities around the world.)  Agency or bureau heads would come to team meetings every other week after having submitted relevant data to the City Manager’s Office. For example, the Public Works Department might submit information on anything from complaints about roads and sidewalks to future projects.  The City Manager’s Office would analyze the information and prepare the presentation for the team meeting by comparing it to the report for the previous period and formulating questions designed to explain the data and highlight problem areas. In conjunction with the Town and Country Planning Department these problem areas can be geocoded for the presentation so that team members can have accurate and up to date information of where problems exist. The success of CitiStat depends on the submission and presentation of accurate and timely intelligence, the development of effective tactics and strategies, the rapid deployment of resources to address identified problems, and relentless follow-up and assessment to assure that the desired outcomes have been met.

 

  1. It is customary for cities around the world to have a horticulturalist on staff as well as field workers and the same should obtain for Road Town.  Having a horticulturalist on staff removes the Office’s dependence on the possibly self-interested advice of private landscaping and maintenance companies.  Several of the trees planted around the capital in the last ten years such as the mahoganies and the African Tulips can reach more than fifty feet in height at maturity and are not suitable for their locations but they were purchased on the advice of nurserymen.  Similarly, plants installed in an urban location are particularly vulnerable to disease and pests and would benefit from the ongoing attentions of someone trained in tropical plant care who does not stand to benefit from the need to replace dead and damaged plants.  In the same vein, it is a drain on the Office to have to locate someone whenever one of the myriad problems in Road Town needs attention which other departments are unable or unwilling to give.  These problems may range from the spread of yellow love on a neglected piece of Crown Land to the removal of vines from overhead lines to the application of herbicide on the grass growing in sidewalk cracks. 

 

  1. The Office of the City Manager has been housed with the Trade Department since the first quarter of 2007.  The dedicated office is small and must also serve as storage space since the rest of the floor space is dedicated to the Trade Department, international access is not available on the phone line, and quite often the building suffers from lack of water.  The bottom quarter of the building that currently serves as the Police Headquarters has been identified as suitable for the City Manager but progress on effecting the move has been slow, not least because of the need to develop workable plans for the renovation of the space.  It is recommended that work on the renovation of the identified space be completed by the middle of the year and that the Office be relocated as soon as is conveniently possible.

 

Did you know…

 

that Sir Rupert Briercliffe was a doctor who became a Medical Health Officer in the British Overseas Territories Service and worked in the Caribbean?  Knighted by King George V in 1939, Sir Rupert developed a special fondness for the Virgin Islands and retired here.  When he died in 1975, he bequeathed a significant portion of his estate to the people of the Territory and it is with those funds that the Cultural Centre which bears his name was built. 

 

P Remember to take your re-usable bag with you wherever you go.  It’s not just for groceries!

  

Eugenia O'Neal
City Manager, Road Town
"The Little City With the Big Heart!"
Virgin Islands


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