by Emmanuel Joseph
A recommendation by the Barbados National Trust to abandon the proposed construction of a high rise housing project at the “Grotto” on the corner of Upper Beckles Road and Dalkeith, St. Michael, appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Barbados TODAY understands that construction of the multi-million-dollar five-unit Government housing project, expected to begin next week, would mean the destruction of a number of mature trees on the brow of the Garrison Heritage site.
President of the National Trust, Professor Carl Watson, informed this newspaper this afternoon that his entity had suggested the houses be built elsewhere and a
park be created instead. “We were concerned that there were a number of
mature shade trees. We made a suggestion, that due to the high density of people in the area, it would have been wiser to build the houses elsewhere and create a park instead. But the other agencies did not support the idea,” Watson lamented.
“My hope is that when structures are being built, they recognise that trees play an important role. We would like to see as many of the trees (at Grotto) retained,” he declared.
The prominent conservationist sought to dispel any notion that he was pushing a campaign for the provision of low income homes versus trees.
“You have every right to live in pleasant surroundings
whether you live in the heights and terraces or otherwise. Trees exert a calming experience on people, trees cool and reduce the ambient temperatures significantly. This is supported by studies,” pointed out the National Trust head.
The professor was however full of praise for Government officials and people in Barbados, generally, for a greater level of appreciation of the importance of trees to a society.
“We welcome the change, unlike years ago when people would say ‘it’s just a tree’.”
He was of the view that people were now more informed. A team from Barbados TODAY visited the proposed site for the high rise housing venture and recognised caution tape wrapped around the trees
earmarked for removal. The team counted a about half a dozen of the marked trees, including a mature mahogony, large river tamarind and cherry trees.
Some residents in the area were reportedly planning to protest any removal of the trees, which it is believed were expected to be cut down in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Up to the time of compiling this story, it could not be confirmed if the destruction of the trees would go ahead as planned. The housing project will comprise five buildings in the form of a rectangle and going up four floors, with an elevator in the core of the structure. Sources close to the contractors said each floor would entail four apartments.