Castries Vision 2030 takes shape
Friday, November 9, 2018
by Glen Simon

The Government of Saint Lucia has embarked on a new visioning process for the city of Castries.

The first phase of the process will run for four months, to end in December 2018. The aim of the process is to make Castries more compact, socially inclusive, better connected and more resilient to climate change, through integrated urban planning.

In 2008, via extensive consultation with a multitude of stakeholders, the government sought to articulate a vision for the island’s development via a quadrant development plan. The city of Castries featured as a significant element of this plan. Ten years later, government seeks to determine both the extent to which the vision for Castries has informed development over the last decade, and the extent to which the vision remains relevant in light of changing socio-economic activity and the advent of new global international policy frameworks.

Consequently, government has mandated the recently established National Integrated Planning and Programme Unit (NIPP) within the Ministry of Finance to focus on the Castries Redevelopment Project by first articulating a 2030 vision for Castries, using the 2008 vision as a benchmark.

NIPP Director Haward Wells, said: “On Nov. 2, we held the first Castries Urban Forum with several focus group meetings, and this was essentially a plenary where we brought all the various stakeholders from these focus groups into one room to hear what their ideas were in terms of the redevelopment of Castries.”

Stakeholders at the forum included representatives from civil society organizations, government ministries, professional organizations such as the Engineers and Architects Association, schools, emergency services and religious denominations. The forum concluded with seven clear declarations outlined as part of the visioning for Castries.

“We discussed control of transportation, access to Castries, and making Castries a vibrant city. Most people were of the view that Castries sleeps after 5 p.m., so we discussed how to bring life into the city. We also looked at the whole idea of heritage. Castries historically was a place of strong culture, and strong heritage-related activities, but now we’ve seen that most of these have disappeared. The group wanted to see how we could incorporate those in whatever vision that is ultimately spelled out for Castries,” Wells said.

He added that consultations are still ongoing and an opportunity will be afforded parliamentarians on both sides of the House of Assembly to make contributions toward the new vision.

“Once we’ve collated the information that we have, then at some later stage the government ministers as well as the Opposition would be afforded an explanation of the process and an opportunity to comment on what we’ve done so far.”

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has partnered with the Government of Saint Lucia on the Castries Vision 2030. The Castries Redevelopment review is guided by International Policy Frameworks which Saint Lucia has signed on to, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda.

The NIPP Director said the process will outline tangible, attainable goals which can be undertaken during the second phase in 2019.