By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday announce it has approved a $35 million loan to enhance the Bahamas' resilience to coastal risks.
The programme will finance shoreline stabilisation and coastal flooding control measures on Grand Bahama, central Long Island and New Providence, and fund natural infrastructure for hazard resilience through the restoration of natural habitats on Andros. It will also support institutional strengthening for Bahamas' coastal risk management efforts.
The IDB's Bahamas country representative, Maria Florencia Attademo-Hirt, said: "That project seeks to rethink the way the Bahamas deals with coastal infrastructure. One of the five sites identified in that project is in Long Island.
"Basically it will use data to build your next sea wall, for instance. Our team went to Long Island and met with the community, looked at some of the needs and pre-identified the site that requires infrastructure investment, which will be done in hopefully a new way of adding data to whatever we build, so that it is more resilient to climate change."
According to the IDB, $23.5 million will be used to increase resilience to coastal hazards through science-based shoreline stabilisation and coastal flooding control measures, coupled with sustainable rehabilitation of adjacent critical public infrastructure at three sites in east Grand Bahama, central Long Island, and Nassau's Junkanoo Beach.
Some $3 million is being allocated to enhance the resilience of Andros communities to coastal hazards and climate-related impacts through implementation of pilot projects that demonstrate the effectiveness of natural habitat restoration for coastal protection, in line with the island's master plan.Another $3.5 million will fund the institutional strengthening of the Bahamas' Ministry of Public Works and partners for coastal risk management and integrated planning activities. The bank's loan is for a 24-year term, including a 6.5-year grace period, at a LIBOR-based interest rate.