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Editorial: No Ifs, No Buts - Get Breakwaters Repaired

DON’T put tasks off when things are going well – because when things are going badly, they’ll come back to bite you.

There’s as clear a demonstration of that principle as you could wish for today – or more to the point, that you wouldn’t wish for.

The breakwaters in Nassau Harbour have been severely damaged – and frankly this is nothing new. This was highlighted three years ago, but it appears little or nothing has been done about it.

That leaves us trying to figure out what to do about the problem at a time when the economy has crashed, and there aren’t any cruise ships coming in a hurry with fees to pay that might cover the costs.

Nonetheless, this is something that has to be done – and Arawak Port Development Company is teaming up with the Nassau Harbour Pilots Association to figure out where to get the finance and the construction teams to get it done.

With both the eastern and western breakwaters at the entrance to Nassau Harbour and Arawak Cay needing repair, this will be no small task. The west breakwater alone is around 3,100 feet long, with a breach thought to date back to 1991.

Despite being described as a “top project priority” by the Ministry of Works, there seems to have been little progress. We’d hate to see what happens to low priority projects.

The total cost could be as much as $20m, according to the Caribbean Development Bank, although we would not be surprised if it exceeded that.

However much it costs, a successful port really does have to be a priority for The Bahamas – a real priority, not a priority on paper only – so we wish the partnership well in getting the repairs completed.

When better days return, we hope we don’t fall back into this habit of kicking the can down the road – although history seems to suggest that would be an optimistic hope.

Abaco boost

Whenever a new project comes forward, there are always environmental concerns – rightly so, given how our beautiful waters and islands are so much a part of our being.

So it is encouraging indeed to hear the developers of the $580m project aimed at South Abaco talking about how they have done as much as they can to satisfy environmental concerns while still keeping the project viable.

With the next major step of the project having taken place – the Environmental Impact Assessment being submitted for review and released publicly – we are delighted to see the leader of the project being so forthcoming about his efforts to minimise the environmental impact.

Ra’anan “Ronnie” Ben-Zur said the project was going to be the most low density project you will find in The Bahamas, even less so than developments such as the Ocean Club, Baker’s Bay or Albany.

Concerns remain from some, of course, and the dialogue will doubtless continue.

That said, this is the kind of project that can make a substantial difference to The Bahamas, and with a developer saying all the right things when it comes to environmental protection too.

This could make a significant impact on the economy of South Abaco and beyond – and kickstart a part of The Bahamas that could certainly do with some development.

Rather than keeping such developments on New Providence, it broadens the range that is offered by The Bahamas – and its target market could mean more business still for the nation.

This project is a tantalising prospect – and we hope that it can clear remaining hurdles, including remaining concerns, and bring jobs and a boom to the Abaco economy.

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