Riverfront development to boost Linden tourism

DPI, Guyana, Friday, April 20, 2018

Linden will now have a chance to showcase its river and eco-tourism potential with the imminent development of the Upper Demerara River which runs through the town, dividing it into east and west. Discussions and engagements are already being held with engineers to commence the first phase of the project.

A section of the Upper Demerara Riverfront on the western shore.

Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, on Wednesday, met with the engineers and a group of regional officials including the Mayor of Linden, Waneka Arrindell, Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira and PNCR Region 10 Chairman, Deron Adams to review a draft design of the riverfront. According to the new plan, the eastern and western shore of the river will have two different designs given the difference in its landscape and positioning.

Currently, the Linden Riverfront on both shores comprise the boat landings and some small-scale business hubs. Some outdoor cook-shops and other small businesses would line the riverfront on the Mackenzie shore at night, to attract the persons using the boat service. The annual Linden Riverfront Festival, as well as other promotions, are held on the Mackenzie shore.

The draft design sported modern seating arrangements, lighting, small business hubs, a walkway and a boulevard of flowers and trees. The minister described this as “just the tip of the ice burg” as to what a modernised riverfront can bring to the fore economically. Consultation, however, will be held with residents for their input into the design, name and other logistics.

The project is being advanced, since it is the wish of President David Granger to see the Linden riverfront be developed, given the touristic and economic possibilities that can be explored. President Granger, during his recent address to residents of Victory Valley, had said it is his wish to see the riverfronts in all the towns develop.

“I would like to see, all of these waterfronts develop so that young people could go strolling at night safely, with solar lights, good food, music…. and I would like to see this western shore like a boulevard…every town in Guyana must have a boulevard, full of beautiful trees so that young people can enjoy the environment.”

Economic benefits

The town will be given an economic boost with the expected establishment of several businesses including culinary, healthy lifestyle, art, and craft, fashion and confectionaries amongst others.

“It is a whole vision, in terms of opportunities, it is a lot, it must be a clear vision, not just building someplace and putting some people in it, it’s about bigger growth and development for Linden. It’s creating opportunities for businesses in Linden,” Minister Broomes said.

With more space being available on the Wismar shore, the riverfront development is expected to commence from the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge area. With such a long stretch into Burnham Drive, the municipality is expected to earn revenue from renting cubicles at a minimal cost. The Wismar Municipal Market will also benefit with an increase in people traffic. Stallholders in the market who met with Minister Broomes, on Wednesday, were optimistic about the project.

Also in the pipeline, is the establishment of the Mahdia and Lethem bus terminal adjacent to the market. This is something that residents of Linden have been calling for since it is expected to bring economic benefits to the community.

“I see it as really opening up a lot of opportunities, for business in the market, it will bring back that life because the traffic in the area will develop, so people in the market will reopen their stalls and so the market will get the life that it once had,” Minister Broomes said.

By: Vanessa Braithwaite

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