City Council takes control of vacant lots; owners must pay for clean-up

Last Updated on Monday, 4 January 2016, 16:14 by Denis Chabrol

The Georgetown City Council on Monday said it was moving to take control of unattended vacant lots in the City that have been allowed to become an environmental hazard and that owners would have to pay for the clean-up exercise.

“The Council has commenced to cleaning those lands and would add the cost incurred to the rate of such property owners. If the owner cannot be located the municipality would be approaching the Courts to seek legal intervention in the matter,” said City Hall in a statement.

The first exercise was conducted on Main Street, Cummimgsburg near West End/ Tiger Bay.

“Theses lots have become an eye sore, since many of them are covered with overgrowths of bushes and weeds. This environment has provided a haven for criminal minded who pounce  on unsuspecting citizens,” City Hall added.

The Municipality said other reasons for taking over the vacant lots was because they were an ideal setting for reptiles and adult mosquitoes to live as well as residents in some areas have converted them into communal dump sites.

“Vacant lots that are covered with overgrowth cause the environment to look unsightly. A yard that is on unkempt is a contravention of the Public Heath Ordinance,’ said City Hall in its statement.

According to the Public Health Ordinance Chapter 145, the owner of all lots shall keep it free from overgrowth of bush weeds and long grasses.

City Hall noted that residents who live nearby are forced to clear those lots themselves because they pose environmental and safety threats.

The law also requires “the owner and occupier of any premises shall at all time keep his premises free form refuse tins, bottles coconut shells, calabashes, bush, weeds and long grass.

The Municipality also announced that, as part of a programme to repossess lands, at the Georgetown Municipality, the Lamaha Street Railway Embankment would be “meaningfully utilized by the Municipality for a special project which would benefit all citizens.”

Town clerk Royston King said “we have to safe guard the integrity of the environment the Council cannot allow the situation to persist”  King further stated that the Council has an environmental health responsibility to the all citizens of Georgetown to ensure that environment is conducive to live and work.

Guyana is one of six towns. Three more- Bartica, Mahdia and Lethem- are to be added to the list at Local Government Elections scheduled for March 18, 2016.