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Abaco Lodge 'Was Standing Site Of Loyalists'

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

SUPPORT against development in Abaco has swelled as residents claim the dredged site was the first landing of Loyalists to the island.

Although unsanctioned dredging in a creek near the entrance of Treasure Cay was reportedly stopped on Wednesday, residents plan to move forward with their petition against developers of the proposed Treasure Cay hotel and fishing lodge, Sand Bar Club and Spa.

The Tribune understands that the developers did not receive the government’s cease and desist order until Monday, although it was claimed that it had been sent to North Abaco MP Renardo Curry much earlier. It is said the order was only delivered after residents complained about the dredging to Administrator Neil Campbell. However, neither developer nor Mr Curry has responded to calls for comment.

The Treasure Cay Property Owners Association (TCPOA), which represents some 900 residents and home owners in the settlement, have come out in support of calls for all development to be stopped pending full environmental review.

Stephen Kappeler, General Manager of Treasure Cay Resort, Marina and Golf Club and TCPOA Board Director said: “Many of our work force, residents and homeowners are shocked at the uncontrolled excavation of our marshes and fisheries, perhaps without proper permits and plans in place for such a devastation of our natural resource.”

TCPOA Chairman Marty Olsen added: “I have not met a resident or homeowner that is pleased with what is happening and the way it is happening. The TCPOA and the people of Treasure Cay are indeed in favour of the petition to stop any work on the beach or in the marshes of Treasure Cay without the proper approvals, plans, and, most of all, without communication with the people of Abaco and their input.”

According to a letter from the Bahamas Investment Authority, dated May 27, the Sand Bar Club was granted approval by the National Economic Council to develop a two-storey 12-suite hotel with related facilities on the eastern beach front, and to receive concessions under the Hotels Encouragement Act. 

The application by the Sand Bar Club and Spa Ltd to develop a Fishing Lodge with a mini pier; a 4-slip dock; picnic area; two tennis courts; two car parks; green areas; a yoga hut; nature trails and exercise tract on the western portion of the privately owned 9.2 acre property, was also approved. 

However, development was subject to the submission of an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to the Ministry of the Environment and the BEST Commission, approval by the BEST Commission for dredging and approval of the license relative to land reclamation by the Prime Minister.

An application to have the permit revoked for the construction of a new dock, which could be the first on Treasure Cay beach, was submitted on Monday.

Last Friday, residents held a rally at the public beach facility near the entrance to the gated community. According to Mr Olsen, some 150 people attended.

Residents allege that the dredging site has historical importance as it was the landing of the first Loyalists in 1783.

Artifacts believed to have been removed from the site are on display at the Treasure Cay Beach Hotel.

Bahamas National Trust Executive Director Eric Carey has called on the government to act immediately to hold developers accountable for blatant “abuse of privilege”, and disregard for a standard environmental process recognized in most coastal destinations.

Last week, Mr Carey revealed that the BNT was actively considering establishing the area as a protected site.

Fiona Bootle, a resident, said: “Apparently they have markers out there to go all the way through the entire creek. I wish the government would stop from playing games and tell people what it is they’re actually doing. If they feel there is nothing wrong why aren’t they telling people about it. Why would you dig up the mangroves if you’re doing a bonefishing lodge, what are they thinking, and why are they holding back from us?”

She added: “They’ve abused the privilege, the dock permit was granted, but they made the public feel like the dock permit that’s there is for the actual dredging. They were using that to deceive the public, so we feel that the dock permit should be revoked as well.”

On Wednesday, State Minister for Investment Khaalis Rolle refused to comment further on the matter.

Last week, Mr Rolle confirmed that a cease and desist order had been issued to the Sand Bar Club and Spa after it was discovered that developers had started dredging without the required approvals from the BEST Commission.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 6 years, 11 months ago

These residents voted for Renado Curry. Why? I'm not asking why you voted against the FNM, I'm asking on what basis did you believe Renado Curry would have been a good representative for you? What is his record? What has he done in the past to give you hints about his character? What are his accomplishments? Has he shown that he has management skills? Has he exhibited knowledge about government policy? Is he known to be intelligent, not book smart, intelligent? Is he known to work hard? Is he known to do the right thing rather than serving his best self interest? Can he be fair and objective? You have the leader you chose by an overwhelming vote apparently...

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 11 months ago

People do not vote for the person...they vote for the party...just about everywhere.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 10 months ago

That's my point. They elected someone they did not take the pain to know. Examine the reasons they voted for him, really examine them, how is that party voting working when they need it to work for them? It's called "representative" for a reason, the person should be representative of the views of the community. If this bunch is, God help us all.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 10 months ago

You're right. Everyone except "us Bahamians" realizes what an absolute gem we have here, and the unbelievable leverage of a toothy smile and a bag full of money under a visionless government. Waiting to see what these freshmen ministers declare as their net worth in the next election.

It would actually be a very nice report if the tribune did a cross-tab of Minister vs Declared Net Worth by Year for the last 15 yrs. the first column would indicate the year they entered office. 2nd column avg Annual Salary.

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crawfish 6 years, 11 months ago

To be fair to the good people of North Abaco, they chose to have the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham represent them in the last General Election. However, for reasons known to him, he QUIT. But before he quit, he hand picked Mr. Gomez to represent North Abaco. Given the choice, the people were left to choose between Mr. Curry and Mr. Gomez.

Like Mr. Ingraham, Mr. Gomez is 'missing in action' so to speak. So goes the actions of an Elder Statesman.

Where are our True Leaders when we need them?

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GQ 6 years, 11 months ago

Sir Etienne often wrote, "A people get the government they deserve." North Abaco and the rest of the Bahamas who voted PLP in the last election that statement applies to YOU!

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John 6 years, 10 months ago

The foreigners are trying to re-populate the Bahamas and our leaders are too dumb or too 'with them", to see what is going on. This is not about black or white Bahamians, but it is about foreigners coming in to this country and taking it away from Bahamians. They have no respect for our laws, have less respect for our leaders (or have them in their back pockets) and they do not want to hire or do not intend to hire Bahamians or include them in any development that is happening. If we don't grab our leaders, prime minister included, by their neckties, and stop them from selling this country to lawless gangsters, Bahamians are going to be forced out. Taxes have already become too much for the average Bahamian to bear and Bahamians are being surely excluded from the natural resources of this country, beaches included Repeal the law that allows foreigners to buy land wholesale so that when they disabuse our laws they can be dealt with effectively. Kicked off the property and out of our country. Natural habitat will not come back in our lifetime once destroyed, in Abaco, Bimini whereever

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BigDuffus 6 years, 10 months ago

Funny these people in treasure did not have anything to say when at the time Prime Minister and MP Ingraham dug out this very same place with no permits and no best study. Hers the address if u want to see what he did before. www.accuweather.com/en/bs/national/sa... just zome in on Treasure Cay.

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Canon 6 years, 10 months ago

BigDuffus your obviously a Treasure Sands rep. You'll attempted to illegally dredged that area in 2011 and was stopped by the BNT and Port Dept, the sitting PM had nothing to do with it. Now you'll are at it again with the help of the sitting MP. Treasure Sands have no regard for Bahamian Law and should not be allowed to invest any further in this country.

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