Quarry project – do the  concerns outweigh the benefits?
Heavy equipment has begun clearing work at Richmond to enable access for the quarry operations.
Our Readers' Opinions
March 4, 2022

Quarry project – do the concerns outweigh the benefits?

EDITOR: As a resident of North Leeward, development is always welcome. The quarry project has however attracted some discussions. To begin with, it is widely agreed that some discussions, both with the farmers and residents in the area, should have taken place before the commencement of the project. For whatever reasons known best to those involved this was not done. However, we must be aware that in budget of 2019 in the House of Assembly there were discussions on the quarry project. The former Representative at that time welcome the project since it would create employment.

It is commendable that agreement was made as to compensation for the farmers. Where would the replacement lands be? And would the farmers be better off or equally as good as they were before? The answers to these questions are left to be seen.

According to the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) by RAYNEAU Group of companies, they are plans in place to control the dust that many fear would affect the residence of Fitzhughes. They have also put measures in place to control the noise and pollution, along health and safety of workers. According to the same document, trees would be planted in the area and encircling the perimeter of the plant. I know that were some concerns about the removal of trees and having the soil left bare which can give rise to soil erosion.

Of concern is the effect of tourism in that, would it affect the Dark View falls? But we know for sure that this project will bring economic benefit to the residents of North Leeward and other areas. Since the almost collapse of the marijuana trade many persons are left unemployed and some are unskilled. With this project some of those persons along with other persons can gain employment directly with the project. Many can gain skills while on the job.

The economic benefit goes beyond the aforementioned. Persons will be able to sell foods and other items directly to workers. The money earned from workers will spill over into bars and shops in the villages for there would be an increase in income. Also stores in town will see an increase in sales as persons would shop for more items. The supermarkets as well will see an increase. We will see truckers getting more work to transport aggregate to various destinations.

Added to that would be more revenue for the government both from direct revenue from the rental and monies obtain from the sale of the aggregate. Also since the government would be buying stones from them at a reduced price, it will mean a reduction in cost for importing stones into SVG. This reduction would mean more money in the treasury. Besides that the NIS would benefit from the contribution made for workers.

The environmental studies only serve as guidelines for the operators so as to adjust the operations. I do agree however, to use the 2008 report it is outdated and a new should have been done. Be that as it may the project is already underway. I am certain that even the opposition party in principle is neither against development nor foreign investors.

There must be proper supervision of the project to ensure that the operators do operate as outlined in their EMP. For if this project should succeed then it would lift the economic life of the residents of North Leeward and by extension other areas since as was agreed the aggregates would be stored at Lowmans Bay and transported by trucks to other destinations. Therefore it will not only create employment for residence of North Leeward but other areas and it will lift the economic standard of other persons.

The question to be answered in determining the halting or going forward of the project is; does the concerns outweigh the benefits? It is important that before we make conclusions that we seek to educate ourselves, visit the proposed site and make informed decision void of party politics.

Kennard King