Following Monday’s unannounced site visit by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and other top officials, Government Tuesday assured that no approval has been given to the proposed 15-storey Hyatt Centric Hotel Resort.
In fact, Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins, who was also a member of the touring party which was spotted by reporters at Bay Street, The City, left the door wide open for the Prime Minister, who is the minister responsible for Town Planning, to make a final “decision” on the application, which he said was still being assessed.
“And note I am saying decision, because decision could be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I don’t want to say approval,” said Cummins, who stressed to Barbados TODAY that “no decision has been made to date, as of October 25, as far as I am concerned”.
The top planning official also explained that under Section 18 of the Town Planning Act it was a requirement that a formal application must be made to the minister for all matters relating to beachfront development.
The planned construction of the resort has not gone down well in some quarters, with the Barbados National Trust and social activist and attorney-at-law David Comissiong both raising objections on environmental grounds.
The Trust fears if the project is allowed to go ahead, Barbados could lose its United Nations World Heritage designation because the hotel is due to be built in the heart of the island’s World Heritage site of Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison.
Comissiong has written the Chief Town Planner demanding that the application be subjected to “a most rigorous and comprehensive” environmental impact and assessment procedure, including a social impact assessment study.
In an August 4, 2016 letter to Cummins, Comissiong also requested that the people of the neighbouring communities be consulted in town hall meetings and that the relevant sociological surveys and assessments be done before permission was granted to the project.
The 237-room resort is to be situated on almost three acres of waterfront, next to Liquidation Centre and opposite Bethel Methodist Church. It is due to open its doors in 2019.