The developers of the controversial Hyatt Centric Resort have started the studies required to get the multi-million-dollar redesigned project off the ground.
Since February 2017, social activist and now this country’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) David Comissiong has been waging a battle in the High Court against the start of construction on the grounds that no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies have been done or town hall meetings held as required for a project like the Hyatt.
But developer Mark Maloney told Barbados TODAY that studies had in fact been carried out for the original project and those studies were now being revisited to facilitate the proposed expanded resort.
“The project is larger, so we have to update all of those studies. We did a study for a project that was smaller; and now that the project is larger, we have to incorporate those studies to achieve the expansion. All the studies have started. When they are going to be completed, is all part of a process which we will be working through with the regulatory agencies,” Maloney said.
He also addressed Comissiong’s insistence that town hall meetings be held before the hotel resort can be given town planning permission to begin building.
“Once we have done those [studies], which include a social impact study, then part of that social impact study, once it goes through the regulatory agencies and is approved, is then to have a town hall meeting. Those are the steps. We can’t have a town hall meeting when we feel like having it. We have to have a town hall meeting at the right stage of the process,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Unlike last month when Maloney indicated a possible starting time of November for the Hyatt, he would not speak to specifics on a date on this occasion.
“It is safe to say that we are pushing hard. We are working with the Government, the regulatory agencies and everyone to make sure we have done all that we are supposed to. Hopefully we would get our permission which would allow us to proceed and start the project later on this year,” a more cautious Maloney stated.
He disclosed that Visions Development Inc. – the company behind the project – had been collaborating with the Government in order to fulfill a number of stipulations and changes required of it now that more land has been acquired to build the expanded resort in the centre of a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site on Bay Street, The City.
“The project is going to be significantly larger. We are right now going through the redesign and meeting with the regulatory agencies to update our planning…because, through the redesign, we have to go through a new planning process, We have to update our various impact studies that we have to do. And then we have to have a town hall meeting, which we are hoping to have once we have gotten all these steps completed,” the developer stressed.
Late last month, Comissiong issued a stern caution to the developers against “pre-judging” construction start dates for the long-delayed hotel.
He insisted the requisite requirements of the Town and Country Planning Department must first be satisfied.
In fact, Comissiong, who has been asking the court to bar developers from constructing the 15-storey resort, is willing to do it again if developers fail to follow the correct procedure in the most recent application.
He made it clear he would be monitoring the process just as closely as he did over two years ago.