Safety First

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Make Way For The Sands II

The Sands, Sandy Lane

The huge Greco-Roman/Georgian/whatever palace straddling the fomer mangrove swamp between Sandy Lane and Paynes Bay - "The Sands" - which everybody and his uncle loves to hate is about to get some competition on the West Coast.  Construction has recently started in Road View on the site of the former Sandridge Hotel on what is rumored to be another "Sandsesque" ultra-luxury condo complex for the uber-rich and the uber-cool.  Like The Sands there will be only five (5) apartments (The Sands actually has six), but they will be twice as large as The Sands apartments - 20K sq. ft. instead of 10K sq. ft.  The complex is being built by the same developer of the controversial St. Peter's Bay Villas next door and the new marina starting near Six Mens later this year.  All three project are rumored to be in partnership with a big player in the United States in the retirement village business concept.  They will also be connected with the Port St. Charles (also partly developed by the same developer) by water-taxi to share amenities, etc.

So, yet again on the west coast we are going from a hotel catering to scores of ordinary people at a time year-round - to one which will be shuttered most of the time like Port St. Charles which could not even keep the Le Mer restaurant busy nor in business.  But, no-worries - by that time the developers would have made their fortune on the condos sales and the government is happy too collecting the huge property taxes on the sales and coming re-sales.  So, who are being left out of the pictures?  Think of all the ordinary Bajans who staff the hand-full of  full-service hotels like the neighboring Cobblers Cove Hotel still left on the west coast, and the thousands of ordinary of visitors who made the west coast the tourist destination it is today who can no longer return for a vacation that is now out of their reach.  The net result probably will be that an area that was once a buzz of activity and interaction with the local community when Sandridge and Kings Beach were around will now be gated and probably dead.

Oh, and by the way, did I also mention that thanks to its location north of and immediately adjacent to the infamous groynes of St. Peter's Bay Villas, The Sands II (my name for the new resort) already has (as pictured below) one of the widest, deepest sandy beaches anywhere on the west coast.  People who knew Sandridge will fall over or out of their chairs when they see the beach now as they all know that never in its 30-something years of existence did Sandridge ever have so much sand.  Of course, all that sand has come at the expense of the beach to the south (I may have also mentioned that somewhere on this blog) but who cares - the band plays on for The Sands II.

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  1. It's easy for me to suggest this because I am not in Barbados, but I would use some non-violent action to draw attention to this. Organize a walk down the West Coast highway between Mullins and Speightstown to show that local people are against this kind of absolutely ridiculous development that benefits no one and not even the environment. I can visualize everyone holding up placards and walking down the road, drawing more attention to what's happening...with perhaps a rally in front of the St. Peters Villas office...just an idea.

  2. In response to my email to Leo Brewster of the CZMU:

    Thank you for your letter of concern regarding the Road View Beach erosion.
    The Coastal Zone Management Unit has a genuine concern to see that the coast
    retains its natural form as much as possible. The swell event that
    contributed to the significant erosion experienced in the Road View area
    also affected several other areas along the west coast. All of these
    locations are now trying to recover for the damage experienced.
    Additionally, it must be noted that this section of coast has often been
    prone to severe erosion events in the past, even prior to the placement of
    the groynes to the north of the area. Such erosion episodes occurred in
    2006, 2002, and during the mid to late 1990's.

    The Unit is currently reviewing the necessary documents that have been
    submitted to the Town Planning Department by the developer to the north of
    Road View. The Unit's comments will then be provided to the Town Planning
    Department, which as the responsible agency for all development on the
    island, will then have to determine what course of action will be taken.

    Despite this, please be informed that the staff of this office were actively
    involved in the on site supervision of the property protection work
    implemented by the affected residents in the area. The Unit's staff tried to
    keep all the affected residents up to date on the necessary procedures to be
    followed, as well as tried to ensure that while the affected properties were
    able to implement some degree of property protection, the construction of
    the structures would not negatively impact on the potential for sand to
    return to the beach.

    The Coastal Zone Management Unit is also monitoring the area to assess the
    general rate of return of sand within the area after the event. In the event
    that it is determined that the rate of recovery is generally too slow,
    consideration will have to be given to the most appropriate strategies to be
    employed to stabilize the area. This will potentially require more than just
    the consideration of the modification of the groyne field to the north of
    Road View, as the long term stability of the entire area has to be
    thoroughly evaluated.

    I hope that this has answered some of your questions regarding the current
    approach being taken by this office to address the erosion issue in Road
    View. The Coastal Zone Management Unit appreciates the public's continued
    interest in issues affecting the coastline.

  3. Thanks, Anonymous, for getting involved and for sharing your correspondence with Dr. Brewster on this matter on this blog. It is always good to hear from him and/or his office as it reassures us that our concerns are being addressed, and that there is hope for saving the beaches at Road View and Mullins which has been our only desire in this matter ever since noticing the heightened erosion going on in the area. I may have some issues with some of what was said above, but I welcome the dialogue it initiates and the prospect for a clearer vision going forward.

  4. Brewster needs to stop pretending he does not know that groynes cause or worsen erosion and get on with the business of having them removed. Here is what his office [most likely Brewster himself] had drafted for the Minister to say back on March 23, 2007:

    "Coastal erosion is also caused, or exacerbated by sand mining, dune alteration, racing vehicles on the beaches, sea walls, revetments and groynes, amongst other things."

    He has been passing the buck on this from the very beginning blaming it on everybody from the Prime Minister back down along the line except himself. This needs to stop. We need someone who will watch over our coasts, not someone beholden to the condo developers.