$232M project scrapped
by Shawn Cumberbatch
The owners of a large tract of land at Long Beach/Chancery Lane have reportedly pulled the plug on their controversial plan to develop the area into a $232 million hotel and condominium project.
While efforts to contact the developers were unsuccessful, sources told Barbados TODAY the related application was withdrawn from the Town and Country Planning Department.
And today, some of the most vocal opponents to the idea were rejoicing at the news and calling for Government to move and acquire the 92 acres of land where the Long Beach Environmental Estate, previously proposed by businessman Anthony Abed and his family through the company Beachside Properties Inc, to save it from future development.
There are suggestions for it to be made into a national park.
Urban planner Lani Edghill led a campaign last year, culminating with the submission of a petition to Town Planning with more than 1,000 signatures of people opposing the development.
Edghill, who is currently Green Business Barbados Coordinator at The Future Centre Trust, told Barbados TODAY she was told by officials from that Government department that the proposal had been withdrawn and up to now had not been resubmitted.
But she did not think this was enough to ease the concerns of residents and environmentalists, saying the land in question at the Christ Church location needed to be acquired by the state, thereby lessening the risk of potentially harmful development.
“I am glad to hear that the proposal has been withdrawn. However, my question is what’s next because the condition of the land at the moment is such that people are using it as a dump site; I don’t think most of Barbados is aware of that. It is considered an important bird area,” she said.
“In my opinion there are two options here. One is that the Government can take over the property, buy it from the owners and make it into a national park and maintain it as such so that everybody in Barbados can use it as an open space and as a park.
“The other option is that a land trust in Barbados could be formed. They actually do this quite often in the US in order to conserve environmentally sensitive areas and get money from funding agencies to buy the land and actually keep it in perpetuity as undeveloped for the public’s use,” she added.
Director of the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies at UWI Cave Hill, Professor Robin Mahon, who along with two colleagues had submitted a report outlining why the intended project would have been a bad idea, said news of its abandonment was welcomed.
“This is very good news for the people of Barbados. The developers are to be congratulated on recognising the natural heritage value of this site for Barbados and on doing the ‘right thing’,” he said.
“What would be wonderful is if a trust could be established to buy this site from the owner and establish it as a managed conservation/amenity area for all to enjoy, including our children’s children.
“Clearly, this will have to be the way of the future if we are to protect valuable natural heritage sites like Chancery Lane/Long Beach and Long Pond (St. Andrew). Barbadians and expatriates residing here could step up to ensure this,” Mahon added.
Professor of Conservation Ecology at UWI, Dr. Julai Horrocks, who wrote the report with Mahon and Professor of Plant Biology Sean Carringon, also said if the information was true it was a welcome development.
Source: http://news.barbadostoday.bb/barticlene ... icle=12267
This is a significant victory for the environment and Barbados. If all works out as reported it is also a major turning point in this country for people power. Developers are now on notice that their projects must also be environmentally, socially and ethically sustainable.