0

Government Considering Pedestrianising Bay Street

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said the government is considering pedestrianising Bay Street as it strategises about revitalising the tourist hotspot and looks to increase visitor arrivals.

Mr Wilchcombe said that while making the switch had been on the table for many years, he was in the process of reviewing a proposal that examined the feasibility of turning Bay Street into a vehicle-free zone.

Mr Wilchcombe said: “Does Bay Street become a pedestrian walk? Does it become a place where more Bahamians could own shops and more Bahamians can own, if not a shop, but certainly have kiosks just on Bay Street? Can we not turn it into an exciting place very much like they have on Paradise Island Marina Village?

“It has been on the table for years. Many people have raised it. I am right now reviewing a document that was prepared.

“It is a review done several years ago by Robert Johnson and it is an incredible piece of work. 

“We are looking at it and the question is what can Bay Street become in the new order of the world.”

He spoke to The Tribune about the government’s plans for the tourism product on Monday at his office in the business centre of the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.

Mr Wilchcombe reiterated that for a long time, the three to four million tourists who enter the country by cruise ship have not been spending enough in downtown stores.

“They are not spending as we think they should spend,” Mr Wilchcombe said. “So we have to look at Bay Street, at duty free shopping, at the types of restaurants, variations of restaurants and bars. Entertainment is a big factor as well along with variations of it.

Right now there are none.

“So the object here is cause for a draw to Bay Street and get all those passengers off the ship.”

This comes after Mr Wilchcombe’s defence of the reported multi-million dollar deal for the British Colonial Hilton to be sold to China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

He said the government did not influence selecting which entity would purchase the Hilton.

The sale, which was formally announced on Friday, coincides with the government’s plans to restore downtown Nassau. CSCEC plans to inject more than $700m into the Bahamas’ economy.

Mr Wilchcombe said: “The government had no responsibility for the sale of the Hilton.

“The government had to approve the sale from one group to the other, but the truth is it did not sit (with the government).” 

CSCEC’s purchase of the hotel has attracted criticism from some who feel it will give China a larger stake in the local economy.

“It is currently building the $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort and has a $150m equity stake in that project.

Comments

Cornel 4 years, 8 months ago

Ok. Great Idea . . . BUT! ! ! . . . where do the cars go?

Oh ! ! Shirley Street two way. Got it

2

SP 4 years, 8 months ago

Parking of cars will go to the new renovated Chinese owned Hilton high rise parking garage & they will make a absolute guaranteed fortune in parking fees.

Ignoramus's Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie had the same opportunity when rebuilding the straw market to include a state owned self sustaining & very profitable medium rise parking garage above the straw market, however, dumb & dumber just didn't have the vision and lacked the business acumen to connect the dots.

Dumb ass does as dumb ass is

0

John 4 years, 8 months ago

“We are looking at it and the question is what can Bay Street become in the new order of the world.” WHAT did he say about "new world order?" Obviously to eliminate traffic from Bay Street would also mean eliminating Bahamians (eventually or selectively). This was tried in the 1990's when the two malls opened and selected Bahamians were no longer welcome on Bay Street. This move was encouraged b many store owners who viewed young Bahamians as a nuisance. They did not realize how much these 'nuisances' contributed to their own businesses until the recession hit and the tourists stop coming. Now downtown is a virtual ghost town.

1

asiseeit 4 years, 8 months ago

You people are fooling yourselves if you think a Bahamian politician is pushing this idea. Our no brain, petty politicians have been told by their new masters to do this. The Hilton is sold and all of a sudden they want to make Bay St. pedestrian, that sounds like the tail waging the dog to me.

2

asiseeit 4 years, 8 months ago

Think about it, they want to build a parking garage by the Hilton, makes sense now hey!

2

asiseeit 4 years, 8 months ago

My people watch and see, things are about to start to move, the foreign man want things to happen so they shall. If a Bahamian wants to do anything he would be dust and bones before the government let him move ahead. Petty politics and the politicians that have practiced them for 40 years is what is keeping BAHAMIANS down. We need to get rid of both the FNM and PLP, they are a cancer upon The Bahamas!

3

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 8 months ago

is a review done several years ago by Robert Johnson and it is an incredible piece of work. I really hope someone's business idea isn't being stolen

0

asiseeit 4 years, 8 months ago

To be clear, I honestly believe this needs to happen for Bay St. to have a fighting chance. Hell it should have happened years ago. I am just so sick of seeing our greedy, petty, politicians hold Bahamians down for whatever petty reason but as soon a foreign man comes along it seems as if the keys to the city are given to him. It is BLATANT. Do we as a people really hate each other that much? Pathetic, as is most of what transpires in this country when it comes to our childish politicians.

1

mostsickandtired 4 years, 8 months ago

Of course we hate each other! At least theoretically. When we see and know each other as Bahamians we love us, but the idea of another Black Bahamian getting rich and not us, fills us with hate and envy. When it is a foreigner getting rich we relax and say welcome, but a Bahamian, no way!

1

SP 4 years, 8 months ago

Speak for yourself. I believe the more of us that succeed make it possible for more of us to follow.

The black crab syndrome that's holding the country back stems from greedy politicians that think they are entitled to a peace of everything and if they can't do something neither will you be allowed to do it.

0

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 8 months ago

For Bay St to have a fighting chance they need to empty the straw market, and get stores that people really want that aren't uber expensive to shop in. Every two steps there's another souvenir store. I'm flabbergasted as to how any of them make their rent payment

1

duppyVAT 4 years, 8 months ago

When Ingraham proposed it fifteen years ago, the PLP had a problem with it. Now its fine .... bunch of PLP jackasses. Better late than never.

1

asiseeit 4 years, 8 months ago

The new Masters have plenty money to make things happen. 10% of their millions will get mountains moved.

0

pablojay 4 years, 8 months ago

And to think these people were able to swing many(black) Bahamians and win elections about the FNM selling out the country to foreigners!

1

sansoucireader 4 years, 8 months ago

Don't do it! They are only so many streets on this island and closing off a major one like this is stupid. Bahamians don't shop on Bay Street because the stores aren't selling what we want or need, and there is no place to park . Other shopping areas offer parking and a choice of stores. You might still not find what you want but how many Bahamians need souvenirs, which is mainly what Bay Street has. Perfume, watches, jewellery, clothing and shoes can be found outside of the downtown area, so why go there?

0

positiveinput 4 years, 8 months ago

So basically the goods sold on Bay Street is acting like a filter however some impurities are still getting thru so a second finer filter is needed. No vehicular traffic means buses would have to be rerouted and taxis moved from by the cruise ship ports I guess. Delivery trucks to various business only have access during which time, or would they be trolley in. What would be the difference in driving thru a non appealing shopping area and walking thru it. A popular night club over the bridge put restrictions in place to filter out a certain class of guest, however they failed to keep in consideration what would be the outcome when tourist visits are down. Same would be here.

0

positiveinput 4 years, 8 months ago

Now you want something to think about. How about using the same cruise ship schedule as a guideline to have Bahamian activities in Rawson Square. Do you know how much tourist stay rite on the ships because there is nothing visible to actually come off for. Some ships come in port almost closing time for stores so why would they want to walk around window shopping. However if shops were allowed to be open later and Bahamian activities made available, a little more tourist spending would happen. To visit the Bahamas, Downtown especially, what is there Bahamian? A few years back, tourist from the cruise ships would of blanket Junkanoo Beach. There was a D.J. interacting with the guest which was entertaining to visitors and locals. However as simple as that ceased.

0

Sign in to comment