|??Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe (left) and Minister of Industry, Denis Kellman, tour the boardwalk following the renaming ceremony.
Every effort should be made to protect Barbados’ coasts!?? Moreover, the public is being urged to take care of the Richard Haynes Boardwalk, popularly known as the South Coast boardwalk, and embrace it as if it were their own.
Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, made this plea yesterday at the official opening and naming of the South Coast Boardwalk by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, at the Hastings Rocks Esplanade, Hastings, Christ Church.
The 1.2 kilometre boardwalk stretches from Rockley Beach to just west of Sierra Beach Hotel.
"This area at Hastings Rocks has been the focal point for the boardwalk and, as such, we are encouraging the public to use this open space and the boardwalk with care. You must treat it as though it were your treasured own," he said.
He added that with more than half of Barbados’ population living within two kilometres of the coast, and with more than 95 per cent of all tourism physical plants being situated at, or near the coast, it was important to make every effort to ensure they were protected.
"Barbados’ coastal footprint is our country’s most valuable, natural and economic asset," Dr. Lowe stated.
He told the audience, which included Sir Richard Haynes and family, other Ministers of Government, MP for the area Dr. William Duguid, Ministry and Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) officials, that climate change was largely influenced by human factors.
The Environment Minister cautioned that the major impacts on bio-physical resources would stem from sea level rise, increased sea surface temperatures, changes in weather patterns and increased storm activity, resulting in coral lost due to bleaching, disease, and physical damage.
However, he explained that the Coastal Infrastructure Programme was conceptualised to address such concerns and saw five headlands being constructed along the site. The project started in 2002, under the direction of the CZMU, and also saw the enhancement of beaches stretching from Rockley to just west of Sierra Beach Hotel, or their improvement, using 12,000 cubic metres of beach sand.
"The enhancement of our new beaches provides a significant increase in beach amenity along the shoreline," Dr. Lowe emphasised, adding that the project was completed within its US$9.2 million budget, and would be maintained by the National Conservation Commission.
Dr. Lowe noted that the Commission also undertook the work on the redevelopment of Hastings Rocks, which included upgrading the bandstand, construction of a new washroom facility, upgrading of the hardscape and other landscaping features.
Those who worked on the project since its inception came in for high praises from the Minister.