|Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss??(FP)|
The first boulders to mark the start of the Holetown Waterfront Improvement project have been positioned, and equipment and staff mobilised.
Effective today, the stretch of beach between Heron Bay Road and Queen’s Fort in St. James, has officially become a construction zone, as the first phase of the US$42 million Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CRMP) got under way.
Speaking during a press briefing at the site in Prospect, St. James this morning, Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Dr. Lorna Inniss said the emphasis on the work to be carried out would be on coastal risks.
"Barbados has built quite a lot of capacity in terms of coastal management, but now as the risks associated with coastal hazards become greater, it is imperative that we are able to manage the risks, not just to the environment and to recreation, but also to the potential economic ones," she said.
She added that the project had a component of coastal enhancement while also addressing the risks associated with sea level rise, coastal erosion, general climate change aspects and protecting against storm surges and winter swells.
Project Manager for the CRMP, Antonio Rowe, explained that today’s start marked the culmination of work over the last four to six years which was funded by the private sector companies in the area. "Now, we as Government are going to fund through the Inter-American Development Bank the implementation of the project," he said.
He explained that during the winter season the stretch of beach could become impassable, and boulders were originally placed to protect properties from high wave energy. However, he noted that under the project, it was intended to create a wider beach space and a buffer zone to give the waves a longer area to dissipate to avoid destructive impacts on the infrastructure and coastline.
The first phase of the project is expected to cost BDS$10 million, and covers 1.5 kilometres of shoreline from Zaccios to Heron Bay, both in St. James. Mr. Rowe explained that it featured the amalgamation of coastal structures including gyrones, breakwaters, revetments, headlands and beach nourishment. This phase of the project is expected to be completed by November 30.
Consultants for the project are W.F. Baird and Associates who were also involved in the design of the Richard Haynes Boardwalk, and other infrastructural projects at Welches, Christ Church and Holetown, St, James, while C.O. Williams are the contractors.