Athol Island and plans of the past

EDITOR, The Tribune.

The late E Dawson Roberts often quoted what has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson “Eternal Vigilance is the price of Liberty”.

An otherwise insignificant notice published in The Tribune today, April 1st, advises that a Public Meeting will be held on April 14th, 2022 at 5:00pm.

Information about the project is available at https://www.jssconsultants.com/AtholIsland

According to the downloadable information, one might think that only a fool would proceed with such an application, as it seems to impinge on every aspect of the natural beauty of this island, as well as the natural life of the creatures upon it. It is a two mile long island, according to the information, yet the project is positioned smack dab on top of what is an underwater sanctuary, known forever as the Sea Gardens. A beautiful garden of Coral (which Coral Vita in Grand Bahama are artificially growing because it is under threat and dying out around the world) with sea fans, fish of every kind, conch grass, sponges and sea cucumbers and star fish. Interestingly, the EIA study was done in October 2021 when the flock of Bahamas White Crowned Pigeons, which annually nest in the mangrove swamp west of the boneyard, would have finished nesting and flown south to Cuba by then. I guess one can’t report what one doesn’t see, but one can make enquiries, methinks.

The information names all of these, (except the White Crowned Pigeon) but goes on to blithely say that Sand Dollar Tours will build a dock over this sacred place. Tourists who have been paying to quietly visit and swim and dive in this place, will likely be prevented and the people who bring them will then be unemployed because Sand Dollar Tours wants to eat their lunch.

This Athol Island must be cursed by God according to its history. At one stage it was designated as a boneyard for end of life freight boats that would be towed in and abandoned to disintegrate, and in so doing, discharge all of their residual fuel and oil around the island and into Montagu Bay. Such ugliness that this created obviously made it look like a dumping ground and some unscrupulous construction company years ago decided to dump a shipload of concrete and steel wreckage from some job it had done somewhere. Which wreckage is still there for the world and the dumper to see.

Before its designation as a boneyard, and offshore land fill, it was made famous when legislation was passed in 1856 designating it to be a Quarantine Station during the Cholera epidemic, which was then raging in the islands and elsewhere.

One can only wonder how the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (just love the planning and protection part), can constantly entertain such applications, knowing that with designations such as Bird Sanctuary, and being part of a National Marine Park, will need legislative action to be undesignated. It seems a bit like taking your socks off before taking off your shoes.



April 1, 2022.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment