November 27, 2009
Rawacou Recreational Park opens

THE development of national parks and other recreational sites around the island was described as having a “most invaluable benefit to the people of the nation.” {{more}}

Director of the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, Andrew Wilson, made these comments during his address at the opening of the Rawacou Heritage Park on November 19. Rawacou is the seventh site to be handed over the community as apart of the Tourism Development Project.

Wilson said the amount of money spent on the project could be easily justified.

“When one looks at the health and social benefit to us as a people,” he said, “such costly investments made here and at other sites are good reasons to justify such expenditure.”

Wilson said that about $1.3 million was spent by the government to purchase 7.5 acres of privately owned land at Rawacou. A man-made pond was also developed, for safe bathing, Wilson said. The site was then developed under two separate contracts that together costs almost EC $1.3 million. The facilities include a parking lot, retaining walls, and underground pipe drain system, a children’s playground, fire pits, a stage and entertainment centre, and a welcome booth and office.

Wilson said that the project, which included sites that would be developed in more that one phase, would have its second phase completed at the end of the year.

Referring to a study done by the California National Parks Service, Wilson said parks contribute to the improvement of the health of a society. He added that the study showed several similarities between the health problems facing California and St. Vincent, such as diabetes, obesity, mental health disorders and increased crime rates.

“Parks and recreation use can have a positive impact … on physical, mental and social health of individuals and their communities,” he said the study concluded.

The St. Vincent Ministry of Tourism has developed 14 sites around the island, including parks, beaches and nature trails. So far, about ten sites have been handed over to the communities where they are located, who will operate them in collaboration with the NPRBA.