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Sep 19, 2006

Subject to conditions, Ara Macao is approved by NEAC

Story PictureConfirmed reports reaching News Five today indicate that the controversial resort project on the Placencia Peninsula known as Ara Macao has received conditional approval from the National Environmental Appraisal Committee. The votes, all received in writing over the last several weeks, reportedly broke down to eight in favour and three against. The three opposed to the project were said to be firm in their objections, while it appeared that at least three swing voters gave their approval based on assurances that strict conditions would be placed on the project, particularly a massive marina on the windward side of the peninsula.
Those five major conditions, now being negotiated by the Department of Environment involve:

1.) A phased construction plan, during which the environmental impact will be monitored at each stage.

2.) The purchase of a performance bond of several million dollars.

3.) Payment of a fee that will finance the D.O.E.’s costs of incremental monitoring of the project.

4.) Redesign of a golf course, particularly those areas near Placencia Lagoon.

and 5.) Completion of the project’s social obligations to the nearby communities of Riversdale and Seine Bight.

It must be noted that the NEAC approval is only a recommendation to the ministry and that there are some hard negotiations ahead between the D.O.E. and Ara Macao’s representatives. Speaking this afternoon to News Five, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, John Briceño, cautioned that he remained “very concerned,” particularly about the marina aspect of the project and that the conditions eventually negotiated be strictly enforced. The project, which involves a hotel of several hundred rooms, condominiums, casino and over one point five million cubic yards of dredging for the marina, has been criticized by residents as being way out of scale with the low impact type of development now on the Peninsula. Residents south of Ara Macao fear that the marina and accompanying twin jetties will disrupt the flow of sand causing erosion to the peninsula’s beaches.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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