Illegal Structures Could Have Catastrophic Results: Warns CZMU

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The erection of illegal engineering structures on some beaches, particularly in the north of the island, continues to be a major cause of concern for Government’s Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU).

And officials there have warned that this practice has the potential for causing "catastrophic results."

Speaking on the issue recently, Director of the CZMU, Dr. Leo Brewster, said that some developers were refusing to follow established procedures, by first obtaining permission from the Town Planning Department before undertaking such construction.

"We have seen a lot of illegal work taking place – especially in the north of the island. The unfortunate reality is that it is going to wreak havoc on the environment," he warned.

Noting that as a result, his office had been receiving myriad complaints, Dr. Brewster disclosed they had officially reported breeches to Town Planning Department, which also has responsibility for enforcement.

With regard to the erection of structures as a means of property protection, Dr. Brewster maintained that there were also specific procedures to be followed in this instance.

"There are emergency procedures in place with Town Planning to implement some level of emergency works for property protection, but it isn’t left to the property manager to take that decision. An emergency plan is in place, which was formalised after Hurricane Ivan.?? A lot of agents for development know about it and the majority follow it, but there are some who feel that they can be pre-emptive, circumvent the process and cause a lot of problems for the vast majority of persons," the CZMU head lamented.

"Once this period [rough seas experienced recently] has passed and things start to return to normalcy and the sand doesn’t come back, they (developers) will say that they lost a lot of property and beach. However, they will fail to recognise that it was the improperly designed structures erected in front of their properties that exacerbated the problem," Dr. Brewster surmised.

cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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