West coast beaches in the Holetown area are still very much open for frolick and R&R — just not in the construction zone.
The clarification came this afternoon from Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss, who said that the beach was still open but contractors were advising the public to stay away from the active construction zone.
“The beach is not closed. The active construction zone, they are encouraging people to stay out and they are trying to make sure that they do in the area where the vehicles are, but the beach is not closed — no it is not,” she stated.
This construction is part of phase two of the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme which began on April 15 and runs until November 30.
Some parts of the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve, which is the centre of much of the activity, were closed for the major works that would take place there and Manager John Nicholls had issued an advisory mid-last month for visitors and locals to keep in mind that the car park, beach front and beach picnic area were closed to facilitate that work.
The lawn for picnics, the tennis and basketball courts, the bathroom facilities, children’s play park, the Interpretive/Visitors’ Centre, souvenir and snorkel rental shops and the administration building at Folkestone however, remained open.
The coastal director said today though that there was a one-and-a-half kilometre stretch which was part of the project to rehabilitate the beach that has long been prone to erosion and other coastal issues.
Inniss said so far work had been progressing rather smoothly and they actually were slightly ahead of schedule and were trying to keep it that way, as the island moved fully into the hurricane season.
“We have to go through hurricane season and we don’t have any room in the schedule at all for down time. Again because of the tourist season, we have to finish by November 30, so we have to push and push as hard as we can so if we do get bad weather during the hurricane season, it won’t put us too far back,” she said.
Phase one, the reconstruction work at Heron Bay, between Colony Club and Queen’s Fort, was closed for six weeks while Baird and Associated in conjunction with C.O. Williams completed that stretch.
At the beginning of that phase one, Inniss had noted that it was part of a larger $42 million Inter-American Development Bank-funded undertaking, and the fifth coastal zone management project run by Government.
The entire project, now called the Holetown Waterfront Improvement Project, is the culmination of six years of work looking at countering coastal risks, while contributing in large part to the rehabilitation of the popular west coast beaches. Additionally, the project will see the development of boardwalks and other infrastructural improvements. (LB)