A Geographic Information System (GIS) Data Hub has been created for the Department of Town and Country Planning in Cape Coast to safeguard effective planning of the communities within the Central Region.
The hub is to ensure the transformation of town and communities, fast data storage and retrieval of geographic information for the various land administration departments and district assemblies in the region.
It would also be used to facilitate the training of district planners in the use of GIS for developing locally-based spatial plans, and as an on-going regional GIS support facility for districts in the Central Region.
The Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) rehabilitated a section of the Town and Country Planning Department in the Central Region.
USAID had also equipped it with computers, software and a networking system, as well as upgraded electrical system air conditioning and security bars to be used as a GIS data hub.
Speaking at the opening of the facility, Mr Lawrence Dakurah, the National Director of the Town and Country Planning, said the GIS data hub was essential to push the agenda of the town and country planning issues.
Mr Dakurah said the Land and Spatial Act, which had been passed by Parliament, was awaiting presidential assent to make it illegal for someone to sell or buy a piece of land which had no plan.
He called on the authorities of the department of town and country planning to develop proper maintenance plans to ensure that the place was kept active and working for a long time.
Mr Brain Crawford, Chief of Party of the SFMP, said the successes of a similar facility in community planning in the Western Region necessitated the provision of the data hub for the Central Region.
He said the centre would provide planners with adequate skills in delivering spatial planning services and that the SFMP was committed to ensuring an integrated fisheries management including helping to properly plan fishing communities.
Mr Crawford said that fisher folks remained one vulnerable and high risk groups because their communities were usually flood prone.
The current rising tides were increasingly becoming frequent and severe due to global warming and will continue to erode shorelines, he noted, adding it would be accelerated in the coming years and it was not going to go away.
He urged geological institutions to regularly warn people on high rising tides of expected developments in order to mitigate the risks.
Mr Brain Conklin, an official of USAID, said the United State was working to support efforts aimed at safeguarding secured livelihoods for many communities to reduce poverty and was hopeful that the facility would help improve planning and prevent disasters.
Mr Joe Appiah, Chief Executive Officer of Pentax Consultancy, said poor planning was a crucial concern in the country and had complicated the nation's underdevelopment status.
He was however optimistic that the facility would help better the situation in the Central Region.