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Wildey can be developed

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Wildey can be developed

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WILDEY, ST MICHAEL, is ripe for further investment and development.

It is envisioned that the busy district will emerge as one focusing on health and wellness and helping to solve urban Barbados’ transportation and traffic issues.

The concepts were detailed in the new Wildey Community Plan released by the Town & Country Development Planning Office.

“Wildey will continue to develop as an emerging regional centre with a nationally significant cluster of employment, education, recreation and institutional uses. Further growth will be accommodated through intensification and redevelopment and supported by innovative transportation solutions,” the 18-page plan stated.

“Connections between complementary uses east of the Errol Barrow Highway will be strengthened to create a green, walkable and active health and wellness precinct. Improvements to the public realm and pedestrian infrastructure will tie the Wildey Community Plan area together.”

The document noted that “given the significant public land and facilities in Wildey, there is potential to demonstrate and pilot sustainable development initiatives”.

It also identified “a unique opportunity to create a health and wellness precinct that connects the Sir Garfield Sobers recreational complex, future medical campus, and Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic”.

“Over the long term, reinvestment in the Wildey Triangle, expansion of existing employment activities, and retrofitting of suburban development provide an opportunity for the area to be a demonstration site for sustainability and resiliency,” the document stated.

“Wildey also has potential to be one anchor of a pilot high-occupancy vehicle lane leading to Warrens, helping to address traffic congestion on the ABC Highway.”

Given the limited amount of vacant land in Wildey, town planning officials believe future growth should be “directed towards intensification and redevelopment of underused sites”.

The “key directions” they outlined included: reinforce the role of Wildey as an employment node and host to clusters of government, business and industrial uses; plan for investment and reurbanisation in the employment, institutional, health and wellness and core precincts; reinforce the health and wellness precinct to the east of the Errol Barrow Highway, leveraging the complementarity between education, agriculture, recreation and health related uses; and locate a mobility node, with park and ride function, adjacent to the Sir Garfield Sobers recreational complex, creating a southern anchor to a pilot high occupancy vehicle lane connecting to Warrens on the ABC Highway corridor.

Other suggestions were: reurbanise the Wildey Triangle with a mix of commercial and residential uses, considering alternate traffic circulation options around the triangle to alleviate congestion; create localised pedestrian networks to improve walkability within and between precincts and improve the safety and convenience of connections throughout Wildey; promote Wildey as a centre for innovation and education related to urban and intensive agriculture, leveraging existing programming at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic; create a signature landscaped boulevard along the Errol Barrow Highway to create a gateway into the Wildey area; and recognise the concentration of recreational amenities across Wildey and improve pedestrian connections between them.

The document said Wildey was now “faced with a number of planning challenges that emanate from its auto-oriented pattern of development”. (SC)