by Latoya Burnham
The first phase of major beach front work on the West Coast at Holetown has begun.
And for the next six weeks, the stretch of beach at Heron Bay, between Colony Club and Queen’s Fort will be closed to sea bathers as well as motor sport operators as the Coastal Zone Management Unit, alongside coastal contractors, Baird and Associates and C.O. Williams Construction, carry out the $10 million stabilisation work.
Acting Director of the CZMU, Dr. Lorna Inniss, said at a press briefing at the site of the coastal works this morning that this phase of the project was part of a larger $42 million Inter-American Development Bank funded undertaking.
She explained as well that it was the first component of the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme, which was the fifth coastal zone management project run by the Barbados Government, and the first as well focusing on infrastructure.
“The emphasis this time is on coastal risk. Barbados has built quite a lot of capacity in terms of coastal management, but now as the risks associated with coastal hazards become greater, it is imperative that given that our economy is coastal based that we are able to manage the risks not just to the environment and to recreation, but also the potential economic risks.
“So this project has an element of coastal enhancement to it while also addressing the risks associated with sea level rise, coastal erosion, general climate change aspects as well as protecting against storm surge, winter swells and sea level rise,” she noted.
Project Manager with Coastal, Antonio Rowe, said too that it was part of what was being called the Holetown Waterfront Improvement Project, which represents a culmination of about six years of work.
Due to safety consideration, as it will be an active construction side, coastal officials indicated the beach will be closed for the next six weeks until the end of the work. Caution markers will be erected indicating the out-of-bounds areas.
This morning two large tractors were moved into position on the beach and coloured strips positioned along the stretch on short sticks indicating that work would begin. Shortly after 11, the first set of boulders were off-loaded onto the beach, which would help create the groynes the coastal officials had mentioned.
Manager of the Barbados office of W.F. Baird and Associates, David Turner, said the work at Heron Bay would consist primarily of a series of groyne and beach enhancement with some offshore work.
“This main section we are starting today is the northern part and it is located between Heron Bay and Colony Club Hotel. There is a series of about four groynes and some beach enhancements. This part of the work has been scheduled for this period because we only have about six weeks starting from today and we have to be finished on November 30. So this piece has been selected as a section that can be completed in that time.
“It gives certain advantages in that we can build these groynes and enhance these beaches and then between then and the beginning of April we can assess how this work is impacting, how the beach has been stabilised,” said Turner.