Categorized | National News

Fort Fincastle Restoration Planned

A $5 million renewal project is in the works for historic Fort Fincastle, which houses popular tourist attractions like the Queen’s Staircase, the Water Tower and the Waterfall – sites that were slowly turning into eyesores.

On Friday, officials from the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) and the Straw Market Authority teamed up to give the once thriving tourist attraction the facelift they said it needs.

AMMC Chairman Courtney Strachan said their records show that more than 200,000 tourists visited the Fort Fincastle last year. He said for too long the site has been in a state of deterioration.

“We found out from the Caribbean Cruise Association that the most popular site, not only in The Bahamas, but in the Caribbean, is Fort Fincastle, the Water Tower, the Waterfall, the 66 Steps,” Mr. Strachan said.

“So, we thought it best that we began a programme to make these sites operational and (on Thursday) it became a reality. We want to improve it and make it real touristic. We want to relocate the straw vendors from where they are and put them in the new national park that we will create.”

On Thursday, the “breathtaking waterfall” that stands right next to the Queen’s Staircase was turned back on and on that day visitors got to see and hear water flowing down the wall and into a pond below.

Mr. Strachan said the waterfall would be turned off during the nights to prevent vagrants from taking showers, as they did in the past.

He added that plans are also on tap to better secure the site and prevent people who pose as tour guides and market sellers from harassing the tourists.

The overall plan, he added, is to create a new touristic centre and that will include reopening the famous water tower that has been closed for nearly 10 years.

The AMMC chairman added that this will also call for relocating the straw vendors from the top of the site to the lower portion.

“What we are doing is we are relocating all of the vendors to that new area,” he said. “In a few weeks the work will begin to do that because we have to remove the vendors to begin work on the Water Tower, which from our preliminary investigations will cost in excess of $5 million.”

Straw Market Authority Chairman Ron Pinder was also on hand for the announcement and noted that the authority is on its way to gaining ownership of the straw vendors who sell their wares at Fort Fincastle.

“It’s scheduled that on October 1, the Straw Market Authority will assume direct control and management of the operations at this straw market,” Mr. Pinder said. “We have some 42 vendors at this site and it will mean that their activities will fall under the purview of the Straw Market Authority.”

“We will have compliance officers on site to ensure that their activities are in line with the orders.”

The full development of that national park is slated to begin on January 1.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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