By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources Minister Vaughn Miller pledged to enhance and redevelop public parks and health facilities in Adelaide Village during a tour of the community yesterday.
Speaking to reporters during yesterday’s walkabout, Mr Miller said the initiatives are part of his plan to improve the quality of life for Adelaide residents and also to preserve the community’s unique cultural heritage.
“One of the reasons for beginning in this historic village is because of its rich heritage and its right for heritage tourism, also eco-tourism and, of course, cultural tourism,” the newly appointed minister said yesterday. “And I was born and raised in Greencastle, Eleuthera, and this area reminds me so much of Green Castle…with a Family Island feel and Family Island look.
“And for the most part, the residents of the village are concerned and do not want to lose this rich look and heritage and the cultural aspect of it and so we would like to preserve that and we’ll also like to inform and educate persons with regards to the wetlands.”
Mr Miller said residents can soon expect to see infrastructural upgrades happening in the area, beginning with the Adelaide public park.
“I’m happy to state that a contract has been signed for the renovations and refurbishment fully (of the park) from over a year ago and I’ll be meeting with the minister of works to discuss going forward with that contract but I can say hopefully by Christmas, that you’ll see a complete overhaul of this park and it will have a completely different look,” he told reporters.
Following a tour of the community park, Mr Miller also visited the Adelaide Health Clinic where he highlighted the need for a new state-of-the-art health facility.
“The need for a greater and the need for a state-of-(the)-art facility is great in Adelaide and as a member of Parliament, I wish to speak to that,” Mr Miller said. “I want to speak loudly and clearly to that. The need for a bigger and more state-of-the-art facility is a desperate one in Adelaide and I speak for that as (a) member of Parliament and it’s something I’ve been advocating for and I will continue to advocate for it until it comes to fruition.”
Other challenges facing the Adelaide clinic include manpower shortages, according to local officials.
“The challenges, sometimes we have a doctor shortage,” Tamala Sweeting, nurse in charge of the clinic, said yesterday. “We have doctors on Mondays and Fridays but some doctor days we don’t have a doctor. Our doctors come from Flamingo Gardens Clinic, which is our mother clinic, and if they are short, that means we don’t have a doctor for that Monday or Friday.”
Other areas toured yesterday included the community’s wetlands.
According to Mr Miller, protecting the country’s natural resources is a key area of focus for his ministry.
He also pledged to crack down on those engaging in illegal dumping activities.
“As it relates to the dumping, it is a concern for this area and not only this area but the entire constituency and indeed this island,” the Golden Ises MP said. “There are too many challenges with it and we certainly intend to take a proactive approach and that’s why I said earlier that once we would’ve met and conclude with our strategic planning, we intend to be very visible and very aggressive in our approach. It will be a zero-tolerance approach. There’s too much of it going on and way too much of it in Golden Isles.”
Yesterday, Rochelle Newbold, director for the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection, made an appeal for Bahamians to report those found littering illegally by utilising the ministry’s apps.
Officials’ promise to safeguard the nation’s prized natural resources comes as activists continue to voice concerns about Disney’s Lighthouse Point project.
The Progressive Liberal Party, while in opposition, had raised concerns about the multimillion-dollar project and even challenged the transparency of the Disney deal.
Asked yesterday if the government intended to reconsider plans for Lighthouse Point and meet with activists on their concerns, Mr Miller replied: “At this time, I’d like to keep it focused on Adelaide and we will have a day and a time to address all of those issues. I’m not the type of minister to duck and dodge. I will not run and hide and I can assure you that we will address them and be very candid and very up front with those issues and concerns.”