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Picturesque Blue Lagoon belies state of disrepair

Published:Saturday | April 11, 2015 | 4:00 AM
Craft vendor Colin Beckford believes 'the area is still beautiful and visitors (tourists) have fallen in love with the beauty and splendor of the lagoon'.
The picturesque Blue lagoon, one of the attractions of Portland.
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Fairy Hill, Portland:

One of Portland's premiere beauty spots, Blue Lagoon, which was once a favourite getaway for the rich and famous, now lies in ruins, having been battered by repeated hurricanes.

Located approximately seven miles east of Port Antonio, with a depth of approximately 200 feet, the picturesque Blue Lagoon and its lush vegetation is often referred to as imaginary as its pristine beauty easily captivates the heart of many. While evidence of its beauty has not deteriorated in any way, its structure of splendour, including a restaurant and a coffee shop, remains submerged, and its bathrooms and showers lie in ruins.

"We still have tourists visiting the lagoon daily," said Colin Beckford, president of the newly formed Craft Vendor Alliance.

Beckford added: "The area is still beautiful and visitors (tourists) have fallen in love with the beauty and splendour of the lagoon. One of the added attractions is the boat ride that carries tourists right around the lagoon and out to sea. The most frequently asked question is, when will this gem be restored?

redevelopment plans

"I know there are plans to redevelop the facility, however, that has been a long time in coming. We still ply our wares at the lagoon, but business is slow," said Beckford.

The pristine facility, which once housed a restaurant (which is partially submerged), a mineral spa, a helicopter landing spot, and bathrooms (now covered by vegetation and closed to the public), made it an ideal choice for locals and foreigners who were captivated by the glittering blue waters of the lagoon.

The facility was purchased by Portland Holdings, which is a company owned by Canadian billionaire Michael Lee-Chin, who promised to have it restored to its former glory years of the 1980s and '90s. The global recession, however, is believed to be one of the contributing factors that led to the delay of the work. Additionally, the building at the facility was heavily battered by at least three hurricanes, including Ivan, Gustav, and Sandy.

The presence of tourists at the run-down facility is probably the next best indication that the Blue Lagoon property, despite its deplorable state, has huge potential and is a viable tourism product that could spark real economic growth in a parish that is dubbed as forgotten and abandoned.

rural@gleanerjm.com