By Makeida Antonio
“Unfortunate,” was how development experts referred to the demolition of a shop in Parham after the Development Control Authority (DCA) released a statement concerning the matter over the weekend.
The release sought to clarify and defend what the DCA classified as “incorrect and misleading” statements surrounding an “illegal” shed owned and operated by Kimani Gardner and two other young men which the agency had demolished.
Sustainable development practices advocate Colin John Jenkins held the view that the controversial incident made public on January 14 could have ended differently if more guidance had been provided to the operators.
“Looking at their position and what the young men were ventilating on social media, it’s an unfortunate series of events. In my opinion, I think it could have possibly gone slightly different if they were better advised on how to look at development, or what they were using for their line of business, and that could have possibly led to maybe a different outcome,” Jenkins suggested on Sunday’s Big Issues programme.
During a social media live video, Malcolm Reid, one of the operators of the business expressed shock and disappointment, saying that he could not understand why the structure was torn down given talks the young men previously had with the DCA.
Environmental and Planning Consultant Allanson Cruikshank agreed with the other panelists and believed that DCA could have taken a less destructive approach despite the business operators going beyond the agreement outlined in the documents.
The consultant also argued that some of the points made by the young men had merit, since the paperwork they presented in the live video showed that they had been granted permission to use the premises until March this year.
“Although they were going beyond the use for which they were granted, and I think the space of the structure was a bit bigger than the 200 square feet that they were allotted, I think the issue could have been dealt with in a more humanitarian way — if you want to put it that way — in order to come to some resolution that would avoid what we saw taking place,” Cruikshank noted.
When Observer contacted Reid for more information following the incident, he said that he and his friends received a stop order from the DCA in January 2021 for building without permission.
However, Reid contended that in March 2021 approval had been granted to them to utilise the premises until March 9, 2022 and while they had received a recent DCA notice to vacate the land, they were under the impression that operations could have continued until the March 2022 deadline.