Express Business Filler #1

Members of the public will get an opportunity to voice their views and suggestions on the enhancement of Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook as the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) will be hosting a public consultation on the issue.

The consultation is scheduled for Monday at 7.30 p.m. and will be held virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plans for Ariapita Avenue come on the heels of part of the Charlotte Street upgrade in the capital city to “Chinatown” and other initiatives being undertaken as part of the Port of Spain Revitalisation Project.

Among these are the development of Memorial Plaza, the Salvatori Building site and Piccadilly Street.

Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez recently spoke of plans to turn Ariapita Avenue into a pedestrian zone, saying it would create a new and enhanced look and stimulate business.

“People want to enjoy the cityscapes. People want to contribute to the economic development of the city. It will create a whole new dynamic for budding young entrepreneurs,” he said. “It will add to the creation of a people’s space. People can sit and chat and socialise. People can traverse the Avenue at will. It will cater for entertainment using the wealth of local talent.” He added: “Steelbands, our national instrument, will be able to function within the entertainment area. Bars can put their tables onto the sidewalks. People can enjoy the ambience of the streets.”

The way forward

The plan was expected to be launched on a trial basis by the end of September but met with pushback from Woodbrook residents and business owners who complained of a lack of consultation.

Martinez met with some stakeholders last month to discuss the issue and said some were elated about the plans while others were sceptical and resistant to change.

He said he would work with stakeholders to find a way forward.

In its announcement, UDeCOTT said the consultation would be broadcast live on its Facebook page and members of the public interested in contributing to the discussions can do so by registering to participate.

The consultation is being held in partnership with the Port of Spain City Corporation and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts.

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