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Apr 23, 2015

Environmental Concerns Raised Over Harvest Caye Project

Abigail Parham Garbutt

Apart from the social concerns the NCL project raised, there are also some environmental concerns. One, raised just a week ago, is that developers have dumped rocks on top of coral heads which abound just off Harvest Caye. Another concern is that there is a proposal in the EIA to construct a thousand foot pier which will extend from the Caye out over those coral heads. News Five was able to confirm that indeed some rocks were dumped off the Caye, and sources tell us that it is part of a second bulwark which will extend out to prevent beach erosion. Practical, maybe…but also cause for concern by environmentalists who say that it is time for the Environmental Compliance Plan to be made public. 

 

Abigail Parham Garbutt, Environmental Activist

“If NCL is claiming that this is going to be environmentally friendly, and I put that in quotes because I don’t see how it can be, then why from now, the beginning, are you going to do something like this? So what is that going to say for the next twenty, twenty-five years if you cannot keep certain promises that you’ve made so far? I don’t understand why a pier of over a thousand feet needs to go over the water. According to the EIA that was written, it is because not everybody wants to go in the water but my take on that is that if you don’t want to go in the water then you watch a video. You don’t need to build something like that so far out. You need to dig for that to occur and then you’re going to put it over corals so people can see the corals. And that is not necessary…certainly not necessary when we have so many other destinations that people could go to, to see corals. At this point, I think we certainly need to go back to the table. In fact I have not even seen the Environmental Compliance Plan which I have asked for several times now if it is already done. Here in the South it is difficult for us to keep up with what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong if we can’t see the ECP. We need to educate the communities around this area and the people who traffic that area often on what the ECP is. Because we cannot call DOE and say you know what…this is the situation. We want you to come down and assess it because we know the ECP states this but they are doing something else. So we would like to see a copy of the ECP, one, and from there we can recommend positive things for that project. At this point I can’t know what those positive things can be.”

 

The Department of the Environment has declined to speak on the dumping of the rocks and possible damage to coral heads, saying that the matter is being handled officially with developers.

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