Plans to change the face of Holetown and protect the coastline in that area are on stream and expected to get under way by May.
Word of this has come from Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Dr. Leo Brewster, who confirmed that the Holetown Waterfront Improvement project was scheduled to start after the winter season, and run for between 14 to 18 months.
The project forms part of the ongoing US $42 million Coastal Risk Assessment Programme (CRAMP), which is aimed at building resilience to coastal hazards including those associated with climate change, through enhanced conservation and management of the island’s coastal zones.
Dr. Brewster explained that the Holetown Waterfront Improvement project stretched from Zaccios to Heron Bay, and will involve the placement of offshore breakwaters, the construction of access paths and a series of groynes to reduce the excessive oscillation of sand within the bays.
To date, town planning permission has been granted, background studies completed and final designs developed.
In addition, preconstruction stakeholder consultations for the Holetown Waterfront Improvement project have started, with meetings being held with individual stakeholders in the surrounding areas.
Noting that two public consultations were held in the past, Dr. Brewster said the third one was expected to take place later this month or early next month. "We have had favourable feedback in terms of the project being done," he indicated.
Regarding the concerns expressed by some hotel owners over possible noise levels disrupting their guests, the Director said work was scheduled to start in May when most of the hotels along the chain were likely to be closed for the summer months.
"A lot of the major work we are trying to have finished, but that will depend on how early the winter [sea] swells start," he said.
Pointing out that it would be slightly longer than The Richard Haynes Boardwalk at Rockley, Christ Church, the Director explained that the Holetown project will stretch between one-and-a-half kilometres to two kilometres along the coastline.
Dr. Brewster said preliminary work on that part of the project was already carried out with groyne installation being done over the last four years. "The more important work is to build offshore breakwaters especially in the Holetown area by the Holetown Police Station all the way up to Settlers Beach. We will also be putting in a series of submerged breakwaters to help reduce wave energy, especially when we have the high swells coming in during the winter that cause lots of damage to the beaches," he explained.
The Director also disclosed plans for extensive beach enhancement to widen and stabilise the beaches along that stretch.
Dr. Brewster also spoke about plans for the Tent Bay Slipway and Revetment Project expected to start after the Holetown project has been initiated, and completed within another year.
That project will see a modern slipway used for hauling up boats, being constructed, along with the construction of a new revetment area to protect the land by the Tent Bay Fish Market, he affirmed.
The official confirmed that town planning permission had been granted for that project, background studies carried out and final designs completed.
The Director also mentioned plans for the Folkestone, St. James area, where two small pocket beaches are expected to be created. "You would have two small cells that you can wade and play in by the near shore," he said, noting that they would also provide a new attraction in the form of snorkeling.
He added that a walkway would also be created and extended through Church Point to Settlers Beach. "[It is] slightly different and more dynamic. It is going to change the face of that section of coastline again," he stated.
Dr. Brewster added that the breakwater would also provide a new habitat for fish and coral, resulting in the CZMU implementing a programme to monitor the rate of recruitment onto the structures after they are established.
The Folkestone project will involve land excavation being carried out on the Holetown Park area, followed by the beaches being nourished.