Local Government and Guana Cay
January 14, 2009 | Local Government
Abaco Study Discusses Sustainable Planning
Larry Smith of BahamasPundit wrote another interesting article on development and Abaco. Here I quote three paragraphs from the article. A study by Andrews University suggests that conventional resort developments are a bad model for Abaco; exactly what The Great Guana Cay Blog has been saying since 2005:
"Conventional resort development typically features large hotels, a closed environment, golf courses, and a utility infrastructure that demands high water use and distant power transmission," the proposal says. "This model typically relies on a cheap labor force, high numbers of visitors, and intense access to amenities such as beaches, marinas and nearby transportation (airports).
"When systems fail over time, projects can become difficult to maintain because the Bahamas does not provide a sophisticated maintenance industry to sustain such a scale of development. This can mean further reliance on imported labor or the gradual transformation of the project into an obsolete and unmanageable relic. (Such) projects are sometimes abandoned with devastating affects on the local job market and economy (eg: the Four Seasons Resort on Exuma) and irrevocable harm to natural ecosystems."
The Andrews proposal seeks to define which communities should be built in what sectors of the island based on the best Bahamian settlement traditions, improved for the 21st century. Special requirements such as green corridors for wildlife are also stipulated, while conventional resort development is discouraged.
February 25, 2008 | Local Government
Duncombe Critical of Inland Marinas, Golf Development
From ReEarth. You can read more about Albany at the ReEarth website section on this development.
Environmental activist Sam Duncombe is criticizing the proposed digging of a deep channel through one of the longest stretches of continuous beach in New Providence. The developers of the Albany project are proposing to do the work in order to create a canal.
But Duncombe wants lawmakers to enact legislation that would prevent the cutting of Bahamian beaches and the creation inland marinas. She also wants Bahamians to pressure the government to put its feet down on foreign
investors whose developments cause major erosion and destruction of Bahamian beaches.
During a press conference on Adelaide Beach Tuesday, Duncombe pointed out markers on the southwestern coastline that developers plan to use as guidelines for where the marina slip would begin. She also took
reporters on a ten-minute walk outlining the amount of beach area that Bahamians would have access to once the Albany project is completed.
Since the Progressive Liberal Party signed the Heads of Agreement, the Albany project has been met with a mixture of support and criticism. Some Bahamians have taken issue with the proposed redirection of traffic in the area and limited access to Adelaide Beach; while others welcomed the development and the potential benefits it could bring to the community and local economy. At a town meeting to discuss the development last year, a group of Adelaide Village residents and business owners said the project would have a positive impact on the village. The Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology (BEST) Commission website contains a 124-page Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Albany project, outlining the impact it will have on the environment and marine life. Duncombe is encouraging Bahamians to become familiar with the document.
"People need to recognize the power we have as individuals and collectively when we speak and what that power means to politicians," she said. "The Clifton Cay development was another example of how incredible and how powerful people can be, because during the first and only meeting the government had about Clifton, over 500 people showed up at Lyford Cay town hall and everybody said 'no', so Clifton never happened," she said."We fought that until the then FNM government was thrown out of power. I have to believe they were thrown out of office because they kept saying to us that they were going to just go ahead and do it. The more politicians hear from us, the more we shape our society to how we want it to be, instead of how they think we want it to be."
In addition to the limited access to Adelaide Beach, the environmentalist said she also had a problem with the golf course being planned. "Golf courses typically create a lot of pollution because of the amount of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that are used on the ground to keep it green and lush," she explained. "The reality is, if you have a heavy rain that overflow has to go somewhere. It will go into the ground water and later into the marine environment and that creates problems. Marinas create pollution because you've got 50 boats in one area, they are emptying their bilges and oil is leaking. If you have gas pumps, you're going to have leaks." She continued, "I encourage people to come out to Adelaide beach and look for these markers and tell me if that's enough beach for you. I'm an Adelaide resident and I refuse to have the largest investment of my life eroded from under my feet simply because rich people don't have enough money yet."
According to Duncombe, once developers build the canal, they will have to place heavy machinery on the beach to dredge the sand in order to renourish the beach.
"What we have to know is that when you cut through a beach it's going to erode over time," she said.
"I've been coming out here for 20 years and I can tell you without a doubt, every summer there are thousands of people coming out here enjoying the beauty and serenity of the beach. Do we want to give that
up for a few hundred wealthy people?"
11.22.07 | Local Government
San Salvador Locals and Development
An update by Neil Hartnell on the San Salvador development issue. San Salvador's Pigeon Creek area is considered its most ecologically important. The local environmental group has put forth a proposal to turn that area into a national park, but those plans are being ignored, and investors are preparing to develop part of it.
11.21.07 | Local Government
Tribune Article on Hope Town District Council
Neil Hartnell covers the Hope Town District Council updates on permits to Bakers Bay Club.
06.27.07 | Local Government
Don't Forget what happened in Hopetown
Bahamians should have a record of the history of the earliest incidents surrounding the Bakers Bay controversy - these documents are critical in explaining the abuse of power and the threats to the young Republic.
On May 19, 2005, the central Bahamian government overstepped their authority and granted permits to Bakers Bay Club, even though these were permits to be issued, or not issued, by local government. Local government for Great Guana Cay is called the Hopetown District Council.
05.08.07 | whereabouts
Guana Cay Citizens at United Nations Today
|Fred Smith, attorney for Save Guana Cay Reef, and Troy Albury, |
President of Save Guana Cay Reef, speak at the United Nations
Today is a historic day for the fight against the Discovery Land Company's massive megadevelopment on Great Guana Cay. The citizens of Guana Cay, their attorney and a group of scientists will be representing the push for sustainability in the Bahamas today. I will be reporting in with updates all day. Here is an article from The Nassau Guardian:
The fight to save Guana Cay is now gaining international exposure as Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) President Fred Smith and other "Save Guana Cay" representatives are set to address the United Nations Commission on sustainable development. Smith will be accompanied by Thomas Goreau, president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, and Troy Albury of the Save Guana Cay Reef Association, who also will make presentations at the summit, which will be broadcast live over the Internet at 1 p.m. today. In an interview with the Freeport news before he left, Smith could hardly contain his excitement. "I'm very proud to be representing The Bahamas and speaking on behalf of Save Guana Cay Reef Association and the Mangrove Action Project out of Bimini," he said. "We have been given a very rare and unique opportunity to speak before the United Nations Commission on sustainable development." Smith explained that Goreau, who has been very active internationally in reef protection, arranged for the group to appear before the United Nations. "We are going to speak about environmental protection, marsh land and mangrove protection and developments in so far as their impact on coastal zones," he said. Noting that The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 low-lying islands and cays, Smith said that climate change and global warming are things that Bahamians should be very much concerned about. "In Grand Bahama we're only a couple of feet above the sea level so any little glacier that melts, we might be under water," he said. "So my speech is going to be focused on what laws exist in The Bahamas for environmental protection, the policies of the Bahamian government and the profile of development in The Bahamas." The Human Rights activists said that his address will focus primarily on Save Guana Cay and how it mirrors what is happening generally in The Bahamas as it relates to foreign real estate developers, "who come here and are mainly interested in making a quick dollar and leaving. "The reason these developers are coming here is because they keep finding these beautiful, untouched, pristine, virgin coastlines, coastal zones, so we want to keep them that way, because they don't have them in South Florida in the U.S. anymore," he said. "Bimini and Guana Cay have been very hard hit by this, and we are hoping to alert the international environmental community to the devastation and environmental rape that has gone on in The Bahamas, particularly under the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) administration over the last five years." Smith noted that former Pime Minister Perry Christie has declared April as coastal awareness month, but he has failed to appreciate the absolute and fundamental importance of mangroves. "They provide fishery nurseries, they are the eco-system between the salt water and our land and they are the ones that act as a sponge and a filter for the growth of land in The Bahamas," Smith said. "The wetlands and mangroves creep and grow and actually build land." If it were not for mangroves in The Bahamas, Smith said there would not probably ber very much Bahamas. "They are the land growers of The Bahamas and at the same time provide the protection and the fishery resources for conch and lobster and shrimp and all kinds of small fish and in particular the lemon shark in Bimini," Smith said. He noted that those same mangrove areas are sold to foreign developments as crown land that appears to be worthless. The mangroves, he said, are given away to developer's and are dredged for mega yacht marinas, exclusive golf courses, exclusive second homes, small resort hotels and gated communities. Smith said that he wants the new Free National Move-ment (FNM) government to be aware that, "we are going to be watching them every step of the way. "We are hoping that this is the first international alarm raised at the beginning of the FNM, term so that they make good on their promises to protect the environment, promote respect of the environment," he said, adding that he is very keen on having Environmental Protection Act passed as soon as possible. Smith invites any persons that maybe interested in environmental protection in The Bahamas to log on the United Nations website to hear his address live at 1 p.m. today.
05.08.07 | Local Government
Outline of United Nations Presentation