Sun | Jan 16, 2022
DREAM HOUSE: ESSENTIALS

Building a dream community

Published:Saturday | December 4, 2021 | 12:08 AMBarry Rattray/Contributor
Amputee Donald Taylor, who does gardening for a living, tending to some flowers and hedges in Westchester in Portmore. Taylor has spent almost four decades beautifying gardens in communities across St Catherine.
Amputee Donald Taylor, who does gardening for a living, tending to some flowers and hedges in Westchester in Portmore. Taylor has spent almost four decades beautifying gardens in communities across St Catherine.
Keep your community lit, contact the Jamaica Public Service Company with regards to street lighting.
Keep your community lit, contact the Jamaica Public Service Company with regards to street lighting.
Palm trees add immeasurable visual impact.
Palm trees add immeasurable visual impact.
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To keep the value of our home at a premium and to provide ourselves and our family with a sense of comfort and pride, we maintain our home by doing repairs and repainting when and if necessary. We may even embark on a remodelling or extension project, but at the end of the day, we still try to maintain its physical features years after the exercise.

We also try to establish and nurture a garden that reflects our horticultural skills and adds to the curb appeal (pleasing look of the house from the street).

But the question begs? Will all the upkeeping of your house offer you a happy and rewarding lifestyle and a decent return on your investment if you ever decide to sell? Sadly, that is often not the case, and you are left wishing you were living somewhere else.

Why do I say all this? Potholed roads, drainage issues, poor to non-existent street lighting, unkept sidewalks/verges, unbushed overgrown vacant lots harbouring potential dangers, neighbours whose homes lack care and attention, uncollected garbage, unnecessary noise (of any kind) disturbing the peace and tranquillity and most importantly, the area being prone to potential and real criminal activity.

Yes, you could spend all the money in the world on home improvement and upkeep and believe you are living in a dream house with all the problems just mentioned swirling outside your very gates. It is called living in a fool’s paradise. If you are honest with yourself, these negatives are bound to affect your lifestyle, your health and your property value. Too many of us across the country live unfairly in these conditions, and sometimes without even realising it, we, the victim, become a hapless contributing factor to the mess. Is there a solution at hand?

Yes, there is. We don’t have to live like this! Do you have a neighbourhood association that enforces rules and regulations? If not, you and your neighbours could come together and form one. But if that is not feasible, find out who can join you to keep the sidewalks/verges manageable and well maintained. Get white paint and keep curb walls continuously in a clean condition. Plant palm trees on both sides of the avenue for that immeasurable visual impact. Keep all garbage containers (if possible) in a uniformed appearance. Have address numbers properly visible. Contact the Jamaica Public Service Company with regards to street lighting. Address the potholes. Institute or reinvigorate the neighbourhood watch programme to deal with the threat of crime. See how you all can come together to help your neighbour keep their fence, gate and exterior walls properly painted.

But all this is only possible if you have the vision and the will to make it happen. Whether you like it or not, your dream house is contingent on properly addressing these problems. Your quality of life and that of your family is based on your living environment, which is tied to your neighbours, and if I may say, to the nation’s as well.

When the people of a country don’t live well, we all don’t live well. Hence the serious social problems Jamaica is suffering with at this time.

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email feedback to barry-rattray@hotmail.com and lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.