With Guyana on the cusp of transformation through the oil and gas industry, the government has taken steps to craft an Urban Development Master Plan.
The Plan will be the blueprint to guide the future development of the city for the next 15 to 20 years, as oil production booms.
At the official launch of an Inter-agency Task Force to undertake the crafting of the Master Plan, this morning, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan said the government recognises that the emergence of the oil and gas sector will surge the demand for public and private infrastructure, particularly in urban spaces.
Given the background of the emerging sector, Minister Bulkan noted the importance of the task force paying attention to critical areas of urban management, such as Waterfront and Sustainability, Water Resources Management and Solid Waste Management.
“Urban areas worldwide are experiencing severe environmental problems and climate change induced impact. Georgetown is one such example as is evident in the overcrowded roadways, unequal distribution of space, long traveling times on busy roads and increasing climate change vulnerability,” he pointed out.
All of the aforementioned, the Minister noted, negatively affect the attractiveness and productivity of the urban area and the well-being of its inhabitants.
Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe addressed the impact of oil and gas and the need for proactive infrastructural planning. He said Georgetown remains a place of heavy vehicular traffic and increasing congestion. It is therefore essential that the Master Plan takes effect.
According to him, the oil and gas sector is dynamic and is driven by global factors. It is also going through multiple phases including exploration, appraisal and development, production and decommissioning.
“At each phase of development, for example, there are a range of economic opportunities for local and regionally based suppliers, as well as the oil and gas companies including, for big finds as we have seen offshore Guyana,” Dr Bynoe said.
The task force brings together key public agencies and ministries including the Central Housing and Planning Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Ministry of Natural Resources, among others.