RESIDENTS OF the northern coastal village of Sandy Bay have been waiting for some time for any kind of intervention that would prevent the sea from further reducing the size of their community.
A sea defense project is earmarked for Sandy Bay but it has been in the works for quite some time; though there is optimism that it will begin later this year.
When a meeting was held with the community in October 2014 to present the designs and obtain feedback, the proposed cost of the project “stood at around EC$17.5 million,” Parliamentary Representative for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel told SEARCHLIGHT. Daniel said “Other things happened, and in 2017 when that came back in our discussions, the cost went up to EC$27 million”.
“ By 2020, what happened is that between the Ministry of Transport and Works, and the CDB,[Caribbean Development Bank] the discussions are so intense that there is always a you changing here, or you changing this, reviewing this and reviewing that.”
He said this back and forth has taken time and the cost of the project has been increasing.
“My last discussion at the Cabinet level is now indicating that the project is getting closer to EC$40 million than anything else,” Daniel stated.
Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that approximately EC$39 million has been approved by the CDB for the project and the Government will be adding about just over EC$1 million which would bring the cost of the project to just over EC$40 million.
“Every year that you keep reviewing and reviewing it adds more costs to the project. This is a project that I have made an application to the Ministry of Transport and Works since 2011,” Gonsalves explained.
He lamented that from 2011 to 2022, “you cannot have a final design… so projects like these -have to ensure that proper designs are done and the proper costings are done to ensure that the project is established.”
The sea defence project earmarked for Sandy Bay will seek to mitigate the ravages of climate change. Daniel sought to indicate the extent of the erosion pointing to an area where he said the shoreline existed while he was growing up in Sandy Bay. The estimated distance from the point indicated by the minister to the current shoreline is about halfa- mile, the amount of coastline that has been lost.
The project works would be along the full length of the Sandy Bay Beach, which itself experienced changes during the April 2021 eruptions of La Soufriere volcano.
Daniel said unless something is done soon this community would be lost to future generations.