Local coastal authorities say residents and other stakeholders have been an integral part of the work that went into the design of the Holetown Waterfront Improvement Project.
The first phase of the project, which involves the Heron Bay stretch running north from Colony Club to Queen’s Fort, started this morning and will continue for the next six weeks.
It will involved groyne and beach enhancement, which Coastal Zone Management Unit experts and W.F. Baird and Associates coastal consultants have said should see a wider and more stable beach in the end.
Project Manager with Coastal Zone, Antonio Rowe, said they had been ongoing talks with those in the immediate vicinity who were expected to be effected, even as Acting Director, Dr. Lorna Inniss noted that they were hosting a stakeholders meeting this Wednesday at Trents Community Centre at 6 p.m. to further give precise details on this phase and answer any questions.
“That is important to the whole process of integrated coastal management. That is part of the integrated aspect of it, actually working with all the stakeholders and reducing conflict as much as possible,” she said.
David Turner, manager with the consulting firm, said the impact on those in the area was a priority even though this was not a lengthy phase of construction.
He said the main challenge, even beyond getting the structures built was the security and coordination with the stakeholders to minimise their impact. Since it was a main tourism coast, Turner added that they had arranged this phase to end by November 30, to coincide with the start of the tourist season.
Rowe said the entire $42 million project covered 1.5 kilometres of shoreline from Zaccios in Holetown to Heron Bay and features an amalgamation of coastal structures including groynes, breakwaters, revetments, headlands and beach nourishment.
Their main concern now, he said, was to ensure that both sea bathers and watersport operators and other stakeholders knew that the Heron Bay area would be closed while the work was going on and what that work would entail.
“[W]e have done this kind of work before as you would recall with the South Coast boardwalk…, and again there was disruption and we had to work with all the stakeholders to get it done, but at the end of the day as you are well aware, in particular the Rockley project is so beneficial to everybody using it in terms of improvement in access to the beach and so on. That is what we want here as well that at the end we are enhancing the shoreline for everybody and this is one of the main objectives of the overall programme.”
He added that the improvement of lateral access along the West Coast, something that has been eroded over years, was one of their primary aims.
“In the winter season, this area can be impassable at times. One of the reasons you see all these boulder revetments along the coastline is strictly to protect the properties from the high wave energy experienced during the winter season and one of the ways to combat this is to get a wider buffer zone to allow the waves to dissipate and thereby not have that destructive impact on the infrastructure on the shoreline.
“We know since the stakeholders along this shoreline were involved in the design, that they are on board and they are keen to have it done, but we are also aware that it is the tourist season so we cannot just push through and affect them negatively, which is why as was stated before, we are not going to be working through the winter season at all.” (LB)