The Town & Country Planning Department is being asked to explain why it did not advise the proprietors of a small property on the south coast about a beach renovation project, undertaken by Ocean Hotel Groups, the owners of Sea Breeze Hotel.
Supervisor Greg Jackman of Villa Ilfracombe is complaining that the project, which entails the strategic placing of boulders to prevent erosion, is costing his small bed and breakfast thousands of dollars and its reputation.
Jackman said while the hotel chain advised him in writing in June that it was about to undertake work on the beach as part of renovation work on the Sea Breeze Hotel, he had not heard a word from Town & Country Planning.
“Town & Country Planning never even sent us a letter that upgrades were being done to the beach, because the last time I checked there were no private beaches in Barbados. We have the same rights to the beach and we have guests that need access to the beach,” the property supervisor told Barbados TODAY.
Jackman complained that the daily excavation was preventing his guests from accessing the beach, describing the development as a classic case of a large company stepping on the little one.
In addition, he said, his establishment has been plagued with cancellations because the guests have been chased away by the ruckus of heavy machinery operating on the beach.
General Manager of Sea Breeze Hotel Patricia Alfonso-Dass told Barbados TODAY the villa’s concerns were over since the project was scheduled to be completed this afternoon.
“Work on the beach is literally in the last hour and everything should be completed today. So I really don’t want to prolong this issue any further by commenting on it,” Alfonso-Dass said.
However, Jackman said he had heard this before, revealing that he had been given assurances that work would have been wrapped up last Saturday.
“This has been happening for four months now and every time we make a call to complain to the owners of Sea Breeze the general manager is either overseas or dealing with matters at another hotel. We received an email on Saturday that construction had come to a complete end because we had to complain again because there was an incident where workers left the tractors on and the exhaust was going back into the rooms. So we told the guest that the beach would be free today [Monday] only to see two excavators working on the beach,” Jackman said.
He confessed that Ocean Hotel Group had offered to allow guests of the villa to relocate to one of its hotels, and had also given monetary compensation.
Still, he said, his apartment’s losses were much greater than the compensation received.
“Some of our guests were accommodated at one of their hotels and we also got a payment of $3,050 in the first two weeks of construction, but we have lost much more than that because when the guests come here they come to relax, not to hear the sound of machinery in their head early in the morning.
“We lost over $28,000 and it is getting to the point where we are having trouble paying our utilities and paying our workers. At this moment we are not even getting any more new bookings because everyone knows that the place is nothing but confusion,” Jackman stressed.