BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
IRAM Lewis, MP for Central Grand Bahama, outlined plans to transform the area and create eco-parks that will attract cruise visitors and boost economic activity in various settlement communities along the southern coastline of his constituency.
Mr Lewis met with constituents at the Church of God in Hawksbill on Thursday evening to share his vision and plans for the communities of Mack Town, Hunters, Lewis Yard, Pinder’s Point, Seaco Town and Eight Mile Rock.
He said the idea is to establish economic stability in the outlying communities and empower residents so that they are less dependent on Freeport.
“As I travel around the southern shores of Central Grand Bahama I see natural jewels that the Lord has blessed us with that we can enhance and improve on that will make a decent way of living for us all,” he said.
Mr Lewis identified several sites along the southern coastline from Mack Town to Eight Mile Rock that can be restored and developed into ecological parks.
He talked about the development of a theme park at a site near the St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. Moving in a westward direction, he mentioned the restoration of the Mermaid Pond and an inland pond that serves as a bird sanctuary in Lewis Yard; the Lighthouse, inland beach and Bond fire Pit in Pinder’s Point; and restoration of the house of Freeport founder Wallace Groves at Seaco Town.
The MP believes that these sites hold the key to economic stability and empowerment for residents.
“The cruise ship terminal is west of Seaco Town, and we need to open that funnel that is blocked - it holds the opportunity for economic empowerment, and we will find a way to unplug the funnel and allow (economic) flow to come through,” he said.
In Eight Mile Rock, plans are to restore and beautify Lover’s Beach and the Boiling Hole in Hepburn Town, as well as other sites, including the Fakersville inland cave.
Mr Lewis stressed that they would also look at developing and improving other areas, such as Williams Town, and in Freeport.
Architect Dirk Saunders and Landscape architect Evan Cartwright presented a slide presentation of the conceptual plans for the ecological parks.
Mr Saunders explained that the vision is to provide a unique cultural and environmental experience for visitors to Grand Bahama that will assist in encouraging new sustainable businesses and provide job opportunities for locals on the island, particularly of Central Grand Bahama.
He indicated that the eco-park development would bring focus to the natural environment and features of Central Grand Bahama.
The idea is to offer eco-tours by land and sea around the southern part of the island, highlighting various cultural and ecological sites in the different communities. There will be ferry or shuttle tours to the various sites, including the Boiling Hole Park, and Bond Fire and Lighthouse Point Park, Lewis Yard Bird Sanctuary inland pond, The Mermaid Pond, the St Vincent Fish Fry, and ending with a tour of the Mack Town.
Plans are to incorporate a cultural village, a site that is about a five-minute walk from cruise terminal where the tour will begin.
In anticipation of their plans, Mr Lewis has initiated a clean-up campaign in the various settlements to make them attractive.
“The intention is to invite outside investors to invest in our economy in partnership with residents,” he said.
He commended Mr Lou Carroll at Sanitation Services for their assistance and has also engaged services of the City of Freeport Council to help with clean up.