An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out in relation to the construction of the Royalton Barbados has revealed that mitigation measures can remove most of the potential negative impacts.
However, watersport operators as well as businesses near to the proposed Trents, St James site, stand to be affected once construction commences and even after it ends.
This was revealed by Andrew Hutchinson and Dr Janice Cumberbatch during a virtual townhall meeting last night to discuss details of the project.
The seven-storey, 250-room US$200 million luxury resort will replace the old Discovery Bay Hotel on the island’s west coast.
Speaking on the EIA, which is a requirement of the Town and Country Planning to support the application of the development and which was prepared by Construction Logistics Inc, Hutchinson, a senior principal at Stantec (Caribbean), explained that potenial issues during the construction phase and the operational phase could all be mitigated.
The senior engineer said during construction factors such as air quality, water supply, solid waste disposal, flora and fauna, noise and traffic could all be dealt with.
Hutchinson revealed that once the Royalton Barbados was built, provisions would be made for the installation of a treatment plant and for proper solid waste disposal for the property.
He said potable water storage for three days would also be included.
“You would be aware that there is no municipal public sewage system on the west coast so the hotel obviously has to provide its own wastewater treatment plant…It is an impact that can be mitigated with the appropriate technology and management,” he said.
Hutchinson also maintained that construction of the resort would not contribute to flooding in the Holetown area.
“You must remember that the greatest impact on flooding in Holetown is not caused necessarily by what happens in Holetown, it is caused by the gullies upstream that drain and discharge water into Holetown and the existing hotel has suffered from damage over the years because of its proximity to the lagoon,” he acknowledged.
He said the nearby Folkstone Marine Park would also not be affected by the project.
Hutchinson said the EIA suggested that the project would have long-term benefits for the island, stating: “The project represents a mix of physical and social impacts and benefits; overall it can improve the resilience and economic base of the community and the island through the provision of an improved local employment outlook.
“In general, the development will generate medium to high economic benefits during construction and will result in long-term economic benefits to the island.”
Sociologist Dr Cumberbatch spoke on the social and gender impact assessment and focused on the impact the project would have on residential and non-residential communities.
She said watersport operators could see a falloff in business once work began on the site.
Additionally, she noted that other businesses nearby could also see a dropoff in business.
“With activities going on on a construction site there may be reduced use of that beach and so there are people who ply their trade on that beach right now, watersports operators and other micro business operators and they may be forced to try to use another beach to secure their livelihoods during that construction phase and some of them may indeed find themselves shifting during operations as well,” Dr Cumberbatch acknowledged.
“One of the concerns of significance is the fact that during construction there is a lot of nuisance. Guests may decide not to book at adjacent properties, whether it’s a guesthouse, apartment or hotel and indeed tour operators may decide to delist these properties during this period.
“While this might mean business for other properties on the island it is certainly not going to be a good thing for those properties that may lose that business,” she pointed out.