Mon | May 30, 2016

Rescind it, now!

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Horseback riders along the Negril shoreline. The Natural Resources Conservation Authority has approved the breakwater project in Negril.-FILE

Negril Chamber slams approval of breakwater project as 'senseless'

THE NEGRIL Chamber of Commerce has said it is shocked and disappointed at the approval granted for two offshore breakwaters to be built in the Long Bay area in Negril, Westmoreland.

"It was also unfortunate to hear the decision through the media, as NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) did not extend the courtesy of contacting us directly, although we have been in dialogue with them for months on this matter. It is an indication of the scant regard that NEPA and the NRCA (Natural Resources Conservation Authority) have for the stakeholders who were diligent and vociferous in their opposition," said a release from the Chamber.

According to the Chamber, the resistance was based on several "disturbing" aspects of the project, primarily:

That no proper consultation with the community took place, and this was admitted to by the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

Several qualified coastal engineers have reported that the design is flawed and will not accrete sand as they claim.

The lack of any proper economic impact study on this project. The results will be disastrous for all, including the numerous small businesses along the West End, and will impact negatively on the foreign-exchange earnings of Jamaica.

"We are demanding that they rescind their decision and put an immediate stop to this senseless project," said the Chamber.

BEACH LICENCES GRANTED

According to NEPA, "After carefully considering all comments from stakeholders in Negril and the wider Jamaica, the NRCA has granted the National Works Agency beach licences for the construction and maintenance of two breakwater structures offshore the Long Bay area in Negril, dredging of the sea (capital dredging), and coastal reclamation."

NEPA said the beach licences have been issued contingent on a number of conditions.

"Given the public's interest and the active involvement of the Negril citizens, the terms and conditions of the beach licences will be made available to the interested parties to allow stakeholders the opportunity to hold the developers accountable for the works planned. A monitoring partnership will be established through the formation of a local monitoring committee that will include public- and private-sector interests," said NEPA.

The breakwaters will form part of a beach-management strategy to slow the pace of erosion of the Negril coastline by strengthening coastal protection.