The national addressing system that the Town and Country Planning Department has been working on for years is expected to get a boost from the Geographic Information System (GIS), Chief Planner Mr. Gregory Adams says.
The project to establish a Territorial addressing system has been ongoing and Mr. Adams disclosed that naming areas currently without official names is one of the difficulties causing the lag: “Part of the challenge with that is coming up with a complement of street names. There are several that we agree on, but there are many that we have to go through a process that we were designing to determine what the street name would be; and then it would be just a computer exercise to assign the addresses along that particular street.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Adams announced that there has been some success in the naming attempt, especially during the pilot phase of the addressing system. “Particularly along Main Street there have been some addresses that were installed. That was part of a pilot project that was done years ago. Those addresses believe it or not are still accurate under the system we are developing,” he said.
It was disclosed that the pilot phase was made possible via a special fund: “Earlier this year we got some funding and we were able to start the pilot project by putting up a number of street names throughout Road Town. That’s going to be the first area that we work on because many of the streets in Road Town already have widely accepted names,” he added.
Now that the project is moving forward with a new technological feature and Mr. Adams assured that the process will go faster and smoother. In fact, the Chief Planner disclosed that the GIS mapping tool gives the Department a platform whereby they can create addresses for every building in the Territory.
“Once we have those street signs posted we can then start to publish the physical addresses to the buildings and people can start navigating and acknowledging the buildings based on that address,” the Chief Planner noted.
He added that nature of tourism in the BVI makes it even more urgent that an address system be implemented: “We have a lot of visitors who would like to drive. From all accounts we have a lot of return visitors and even for new visitors to be able to find their way by foot or by vehicle the addresses would make it more efficient …”
In a report that was laid in the House of Assembly on July 6 it was stated that: “The National Addressing System Building Use Survey has been completed for Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. Work on Virgin Gorda and other outer islands is still in progress.”
It was further explained that the information from the survey is very vital to the implementation of the National Addressing System. In December, 2013 an update on the addressing system was provided when Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith promised that Virgin Gorda will soon be included in the ongoing National Addressing system and that buildings and unnamed roads in Spanish Town will be named.
The Premier’s remarks were in response to a question posed by the then Leader of the Opposition, and Ninth District Representative, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal who inquired when the areas will be given official addresses.
Hon. Smith explained that the national addressing system which assigns house numbers and street names has been in place since 1991 and falls within the purview of Town and Country Planning Department, and stated that he agrees that the sister islands should be completed: “I agree with you that it is time we turn our attention to Virgin Gorda and I will of course be given priority in this matter,” Dr. Smith said.