Blythe takes charge at Roaring River
Thursday, September 19, 2002
By Gerald Miller, Freelance Writer
IN A bid to improve the viability of the Roaring River Attraction in his Central Westmoreland constituency, Dr Karl Blythe has engaged the services of a former Social Development Commission (SDC) employee to manage the venue.
"Roaring River is a lovely attraction but it is not being properly managed at this time," Dr. Blythe told The Gleaner in an interview this week. "The Central Westmoreland Trust has been brought in by me to assist the community to properly managing it." The Roaring River Attraction, which is located in the community of Roaring River Community, which is adjacent to Petersfield, boast a gigantic cave, which was formerly quite popular with both local and international visitors. However, within recent times, there has been a significant reduction in the number of persons visiting the facility.
The management situation at the attraction, the deplorable state of the road leading to the facility and the numerous complaints of visitors being harassed by residents of the area are among the factors being blamed for the downturn in activities at Roaring River. In outlining his long-term vision for the one popular attraction, Dr Blythe said he wants the facility to become a "community thing." According to him, the plan is to have residents playing an integral part in restoring the image of the facility.
"We want it to be a community tourism thing so we have engages the services of Mrs Stephaney Ricketts, who has now been retired from SDC to lead the management team at the attraction," said Dr Blythe. "She will work with the community and with the Central Westmoreland Trust to see how best we can manage that attraction."
"Once this management is on the ground, which should be shortly, and TPDCo (Tourism Production Development Company) agrees to lease the place to this new company, you will see a different running Roaring River Attraction," said Dr Blythe. "You will be able to negotiate and assist the community in achieving the things we need to protect the river, which is our number one water source."
The spotlight has been on the Roaring River community within recent months as both residents and health personnel have been expressing grave concerns about the health risk posed by persons establishing settlements on the bank of the river. Westmoreland is endemic to the waterborne disease typhoid, which had its last major outbreak in the 1990s.