By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
ANY attempt to develop Andros without establishing properly planned and zoned districts will be a “hotbed” for economic and social chaos, a Bahamian engineer has warned.
Judson Wilmott, speaking at the Andros Business Outlook conference, warned that the island could not be allowed to suffer the same fate as New Providence, where the lack of planning and zoning enforcement had resulted in residential subdivisions becoming “infested by the influx of overnight pop-up commercial businesses”.
“Any attempt to develop Andros without setting up and enacting zoned municiple cites or districts is a detrimental hotbed for economic and social chaos, coupled with corruption, crime and mismanagement of government affairs,” Mr Wilmott said.
“An Andros lacking in proper and well-balanced zoning practices will become an ad-hoc breeding ground for special interests and political manipulation by unscrupulous community leaders, political cronies, powerful politicians and predatory foreign investors. We cannot afford to make the same mistake that has been made in the development of New Providence.”
Mr Wilmott added: ‘The communities of New Providence are infested by the influx of overnight pop-up commercial business that are not authorised to be situated where they are now. This array of unplanned commercial business brings about unwanted traffic and transient persons to residential communities.
“In my opinion residential communities should only contain houses, churches, schools and public parks. The unplanned injection of these businesses brings about a severe strain on public safety and resources. Someone, somewhere in the system, is handing out these authorisations without consideration of the negative impact that can come about.”
Mr Wilmott argued that “willy nilly” business license approvals unfairly alter the expectation of a peaceful residential environment. “There’s a need to have properly organised and planned commercial, as well as industrial, business districts,” he added.
Mr Wilmott stressed that in developing Andros, what must not be allowed is the devastation of creeks, forests and shorelines. “The protection of natural resources on Andros should never be compromised,” he said.