Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy has brushed aside any concerns that controversy surrounding the proposed construction of the 15 storey Hyatt hotel at Bay Street, The City has in any way deterred the investors.
As a matter of fact, Sealy, who spoke to Barbados TODAY at World Travel Market in London yesterday, remained confident that the project would receive the necessary approval from Town & Country Planning, and construction would begin shortly.
“I am not aware that the Hyatt people are having any second thoughts. The permit is being processed in order for them to start work. We look forward to that permit being issued and work being started,” the minister said.
The project has run into strong objection from social activist and attorney-at-law David Comissiong, who has threatened to take legal action to stop construction of the hotel if is not subjected to a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.
Comissiong, along with the Barbados National Trust (BNT), is contending that the hotel will have negative implications for the environmental well-being of the City of Bridgetown and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Trust, which is represented on the Barbados World Heritage Committee, has said it fears Barbados could lose its crucial World Heritage designation for the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison and put it on the danger list should the project go ahead.
Up to late last month, following a site visit for the proposed 237-room property, Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins said no decision had been made on whether or not the project would be approved.
Meanwhile, Sealy said another major hotel project, the multi-million dollar, five-star Wyndham Grand Resort on site of the historic Sam Lord’s Castle in St Philip was mostly on schedule.
“Most of the site work, in terms of preparing the site, that is, access and so on, [has been done]. We will very soon be commencing the work on the actual structures that will make up the Wyndham Grand property. I would say that we are near enough on schedule; we are not seriously off schedule,” he told Barbados TODAY. (CM)