|Environment Minister explains reasons for Baha Mar surge wall construction|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 10:00|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Baha Mar constructed a nine-foot surge protection wall on the northern Cable Beach shoreline in order to comply with insurance requirements. The wall will go once the Beach Re-nourishment project has been completed to expand public access to the beach for both Bahamians and Baha Mar’s hotel guests. Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon Kenred Dorsett said during a recent interview, “Baha Mar agrees with the Bahamas Government that all Bahamians have the legal right to access and enjoy the beach after the construction of the resort.
“The surge wall was simply an insurance requirement to protect the hotel structure from water damage and collapse in the event of a hurricane,” Mr Dorsett said. “The insurance company also required that the completion of the construction of the surge wall was to be finished, prior to the 2012 Hurricane Season.
To date, it has been completed.” The Bahamas Environment Science and Technology (BEST) Commission on June 15 inspected the completion of the surge wall in compliance to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements.
The sea wall now provides a baseline survey for the resort developers to measure their liability to repair the shoreline and implement a mitigation strategy against any negative changes to the shoreline. Mr Dorsett also explained that Baha Mar applied for and signed a lease with The Bahamas Government only to rent the Crown Land where the beach is currently situated for its hotel guests.“Baha Mar does not own the beach, the Government owns the beach. The rumours circulating around that Baha Mar owns it, are completely false,” he said. “Baha Mar agrees that the dune will be raised and the beach will be re-nourished and extended to about 15 to 20 feet away from the surge wall. This will enlarge the beach property and re-establish the pre-development high water mark.” Baha Mar’s developers have been working closely with the BEST Commission to mitigate the impact of the human carbon footprint on the Cable Beach natural environment. In some instances, Baha Mar has increased its preventative measures to ensure their obligation to the Bahamian public, Mr Dorsett said.
“I am advised that industry standard usually requires only one row of turbidity curtains. However, Baha Mar has secured the marine environment with a double layer of turbidity curtains. “You can see it from a bird’s eye view that it is working to control sediment travel from impacting Goodman’s Bay, as well as, other beaches along the entire northern shoreline,” he said. The Ministry of the Environment and Housing encourages Baha Mar to engage the public with information updates in respect to its on-going work in the future, Mr Dorsett noted. The BEST Commission also welcomes the Bahamian public to obtain copies of documents concerning any EIA Reports. They ask the public to feel free to query any information and/or rumours by contacting BEST at (242) 397-5508 at the Dockendale House location on the second floor.
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