PLANNING and Development Minister Camille Robinson- Regis is warning that her ministry, through the Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD), will be clamping down on unplanned and unauthorised developments.
The minister issued the warning during a recent tour of her constituency in Maloney.
According to Robinson-Regis, there will now be focus on an enforcement drive to have citizens employ best practices and proper construction methods.
“Many individuals are building without approvals and those who seek approvals from the TCPD are building outside of the remit of these approvals.
There are instances of people building in river courses, building two storey structures in areas where approvals have been granted for one storey, do not provide adequate parking and a host of other ill-advised developments in Trinidad as well as Tobago,” she said.
“This wanton disregard for planning policies creates environmental problems, challenges with dealing with sewerage, are safety hazards for patrons, residents and the general public and contribute to the degradation of our environment,” the minister added.
Robinson-Regis also disclosed that the TCPD has issued a number of enforcement notices while there were several matters before the court. Some 35 matters have been considered and are to be enforced for the first quarter of 2017, she disclosed, while from September 2015 to December 2016, some 41 matters were brought to her attention for enforcement.
“Citizens are given the chance to mediate with the TCPD and follow procedure, and in many cases still do not comply,” she said. In the past, the Planning Ministry was successful in prosecuting non compliance in the magistrates court.
In those matters, offenders were convicted and fined $750 each for an initial offence and the further sum of $815,000.00 for the continuing offence for the period January 2006 to March 2017, a period of 11 years.
There has been another case before the courts since 2007 regarding a wall that contravened the 2.1 metre height requirement, and the owner has recently complied with TCPD regulations and the matter was withdrawn in May.
“As the Minister of Planning and Development with responsibility for development as described under the Town and Country Planning Act, I would like to advise that citizens desist from carrying out unauthorised development across Trinidad and Tobago since failure to comply with stipulated regulations will result in enforcement proceedings being initiated against the owner(s) or occupier( s) of the subject land,” she warned.