Environment officials said a nine-foot surge protection wall erected on the northern Cable Beach shoreline is a temporary measure being used for Baha Mar construction and not to keep Bahamians out.
In a press statement issued by Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett, the wall was erected in compliance with insurance requirements in order for Baha Mar to carry on its construction process.
He said the wall is expected to disappear after the beach re-nourishment project is completed to expand the public access to the beach for both Bahamians and Baha Mar’s hotel guests.
“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,” he said. “The surge wall was simply an insurance requirement to protect the hotel structure from water damage and collapse in the event of a hurricane.
“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.”
According to the release, on June 15 the BEST Commission (Bahamas Environment Science and Technology) 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.
“Baha Mar applied for and signed a lease with the 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,” Mr. Dorsett 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.”
He added that 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.
“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,” Minister Dorsett added. “You can see it from a bird’s eye view that it’s working to control sediment travel from impacting Goodman’s Bay, as well as, other beaches along the entire northern shoreline.”
The Ministry of the Environment and Housing encourages Baha Mar to engage the public with information updates in respect to its ongoing work in the future.
It was just last week that Senator Jerome Gomez called for an investigation into reports that Baha Mar has plans to lay a 10,000 foot pipe underwater between Long Cay and Goodman’s Bay to help the mega-resort with its energy use.
However, Baha Mar Vice President of External Affairs Robert Sands said nothing has been finalised just yet.