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Published 5th June 2019, 1:25pm

Mr. Speaker, in November last year I told the members of this Honourable House and the public that Government had purchased Scranton Central Park to ensure that those who live in that community continue to enjoy that public space.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to announce that yesterday Government signed a five-year peppercorn Licence to the Central Scranton Community Committee to occupy, manage and carry out improvements to the original park site plus land situated at Block 14CJ Parcels 22, 121 and part of 182, which is 1.4 acres off Myles Lane in George Town.

I’m happy to report that the Committee has a variety of ideas and proposals to develop and improve park facilities for the local community and the general public. To help it achieve its goals, Mr. Speaker, the Committee intends to secure volunteer donations of materials and labour. I have every confidence they will be successful.

In the words of cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I appreciate the passion of the members of the Central Scranton Community Committee and I thank them for the diligence in working with Government to develop a solution that is a win for all involved.

Mr. Speaker, for well over a decade the former Minister for Lands and former Leader of Government Business Hon. D. Kurt Tibbetts and I attempted to purchase on behalf of Government the original Scranton Park property, which was privately owned by individuals who graciously let community members use the land for free as a gathering spot. Over the years it had been used for many things – community gatherings to celebrate mothers and fathers on their special days, birthday parties, basketball games and more.

When finally the land did come on the market, my Government jumped at the chance to buy it to preserve this oasis in George Town Central.

Now, with the purchase of the land and the signing of the peppercorn licence with the Scranton Central Committee, residents in the community and the public at large can rest assured that an enlarged Scranton Park will continue to be this haven in the midst of bustling George Town.

Mr. Speaker, my Government continues to place a premium on ensuring that open spaces are available to the public, including access to neighborhood parks and play areas, and working with the residents in those communities to ensure those areas are kept tidy, accessible and safe.

So far this Government has proven its commitment to public spaces for our people by purchasing land and enhancing Smith Barcadere, putting in place the South Sound Board Walk and purchasing property in the Prospect area for a public park for the Red Bay and Prospect communities.

Mr. Speaker, Government continues to scope out lands and beach areas to procure for the enjoyment of our people across all three of our beloved Islands. By doing so we are making our communities stronger.

Before I close, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the members of the committee for their hard work. They include Mr. Dale Ramoon, Ms Lucille Seymour, Mr. Anthony Ramoon, Ms Cheryl Myles, Ms Christine Burke-Richardson and Ms Donna Wilson.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.