The Folkestone Sustainable Land Management Showcase, is now officially open!

Located in the Folkestone Visitor’s Centre, in Holetown, St. James, the showcase was opened by General Manager of the National Conservation Commission (NCC), Keith Neblett, during a launch on Wednesday night.

The showcase forms part of Phase One of the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve redevelopment project and features plans and presents visuals on the area. It also highlights exhibits and designs for a walkway being coordinated by the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) and other plans by the Drainage Division.

During his address, Mr. Neblett said initially the goals were simply to improve and expand the exhibits. But, after a 12-year delay in getting the project off the ground due to financing challenges, plans for the facility would now reflect a greater environmental focus.

Those plans, he said, would lead to the development of a revitalised Sustainable Eco-Tourism Centre fully powered by alternative energy and rain water harvested. "People will have the opportunity to come and see the initiatives government is taking and use it as a learning centre to be replicated at other sites and schools," Mr. Neblett said.

He added that long-term goals for the area also included creating a green space with the assistance of the CZMU, and extending the parking area.

The general manager added that it was a 2009 report on Adopt-A-Reserve that provided the opportunity for the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve to meet some of its objectives.

"If we can enhance that group to non-governmental organisation that could be the genesis of The Friends to Folkestone," Mr. Neblett disclosed, noting that the group was also being launched that same evening.

He explained that while the NCC could not approach organisations for funding, the establishment of The Friends of Folkestone would be key in accessing funds from entities.

"In addition, the NGO will be a vehicle through which volunteerism and community concerns can be expressed and incorporated into the plans," the general manager said.

The organisation was established to redevelop and expand the existing visitor experience and interpretive exhibits at Folkestone. In addition, it will also be responsible for carrying out activities such as fund-raising, corporate sponsorship and grant applications.

Work on Folkestone’s redevelopment is being carried out by Blackbird Designs, of Calgary, Canada. Blackbird Designs was also responsible for the comprehensive design solutions and installation of the interpretive exhibits and signage at Harrison’s Cave.

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