Worthing Beach, Christ Church. (FP)

The Ministry of Environment and National Beautification is temporarily closing Worthing Beach, from the entrance of St. Lawrence Gap to the zone at the bottom of Rendezvous Hill, beginning midnight tonight, Saturday, July 7, until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 20.

This is to facilitate an environmental exercise to lower the water levels at the Graeme Hall Swamp, as preparations for the 2018 hurricane season continue.

The decision was made following a series of meetings with a sub-committee of Cabinet, comprising the Ministry Environment and National Beautification, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance, and the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport.

Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, said that the move was critical to preserve the delicate South Coast ecosystem in the future.

“We have discussed at length the implications for closing the beach for the next two weeks, and while it is far from the ideal scenario, the sub-committee has collectively made the decision that we must do what is in the best interest of preserving our environment going forward.

“This year’s hurricane season has already started and we need to ensure that we are properly prepared, and a part of that is controlling and preserving the equilibrium of the swamp,” he stated.

Starting today, the National Conservation Commission (NCC) will erect signage along the South Coast to clearly indicate the impacted areas. Sea bathers are asked to comply with the NCC’s guidelines and refrain from using the closed beach during the specified period.

Stressing that the exercise formed “a critical pillar” of preparations for the hurricane season, Mr. Prescod added: “We are of course hoping for a safe hurricane season but we must still be proactive in our preparedness for whatever may come. We are confident that this move will put us in a favourable position later on and we are asking businesses, residents and those who frequent the area, who we appreciate will be affected, to bear with us while we carry out this exercise. We are cognisant of the ramifications as we try to maintain a beautiful Barbados for everyone.”

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