The proposed grand development plan for the busy St Lawrence Gap area “must occur”, says a Government minister.
Despite an outcry from concerned residents about those plans Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dwight Sutherland gave a clear indication on Tuesday, it was one of the development areas which have been earmarked to “bring life” to that busy area.
Leading off debate in Parliament on a resolution to acquire three parcels of land under Section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act, Sutherland stressed the importance of housing development and the redevelopment of Bridgetown and other major towns across the island.
Citing Bridgetown, Holetown, Speightstown, Oistins, Warrens and St Lawrence Gap, Sutherland said the redevelopment and reuse of buildings in those areas was part of the thrust to bring housing and commercial activities to these areas.
“I ain’t afraid to speak on St Lawrence Gap because redevelopment must occur there,” he declared to the Lower Chamber.
However, he quickly pointed out that any planned development for the popular tourist area must be done properly.
“It must adhere to all environmental regulations, Town and Country Planning approval, and I heard muttering behind me but nonetheless, I will stay my course. I will stay my course,” he said on Tuesday.
Sutherland’s comments come just over a month after it was disclosed that Government was acquiring several parcels of land in the St Lawrence, Christ Church area for “public purposes, namely road improvement, car park, environmental improvement and tourism development”.
At a town hall meeting at the start of last month, Sutherland gave concerned residents the assurance that no decision had been made and that they would have a say on the way forward.
“We have not gone to Cabinet with any final decision. This land for tourism development will be vested in BTII [Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.] who then will invite bids and, of course, you will sit and you will have your say,” Sutherland told the residents at the meeting held at St Lawrence Primary School.
It was also revealed recently that a proposal was made for a marine project for the St Lawrence Gap area which would include the construction of floating islands, retail spaces for local businesses, restoration of the natural watercourse and the general beautification of the area.
It also includes a dredged safe water harbour and a swing bridge for boats entering and leaving the waterway. (MM)