Categorized | Features, Local, Opinions

The Man from Garibaldi Hill

So it’s decided then. Not officially, of course, because the Chief Minister has publicly stated that no decision has been made yet as to where the jetty to facilitate sand exports from the Belham Valley will be located.

It’s not Old Road Bay, where there is direct road access to the beach and where the old fishermen’s jetty used to be. Old road Bay is where one of the sandminers in years gone by extended the original jetty seawards using a Heath Robinson construction method of filling old containers with rocks. Old Road Bay is also where much money was wasted in employing a dredging company in a futile bid to deepen the barge access to the makeshift jetty. Both of these jetties, of course, have long disappeared beneath the mud, rocks and ash brought down the valley by the powerful lahars.

It’s not Foxes Bay, which also has direct road access, because the remit of the Environmental Impact Assessment does not cover Foxes Bay.  So no jetty will go there then, although we were led to believe that’s where it would definitely be built.

It goes against all logic, but it’s now clear that it’s got to be Isles Bay where the EIA is being focused. Isles Bay too has direct road access to the beach, albeit that the eastern end of the road is 20 feet under ash. The road winds up Garibaldi Hill passing some 32 homes or splits and dives off down to the beach past the Betz house and over Montserrat Co. land. Mind you, there is not much left of this stretch of road called Beach Road because the 20 ton trucks that carted beach sand from Isles Bay Beach have mashed the road up as they have done on the Trants Road. No reparation has been made either to Trants or Beach roads. Impossible as it may seem, no one has been held accountable. Same destruction has taken place at Happy Hill where Shamrock Mining are operating.

Many people in Montserrat are unaware that the 32 homeowners on Garibaldi Hill enjoy the same services as the rest of Montserrat. Thanks to the public utilities, we have electricity, water, Internet access, telephones and even cable TV. There is no through traffic and our environment is best described as quiet, peaceful and serene. It seems, however, that such serenity may be about to change.

The sandminers do not propose to use our road, but not from any sense of altruism, as we shall see. Instead they propose to build a roadway, not a metalled road, but an access roadway of ash and rock base to cart their loads down the valley to the jetty on Isles Bay beach.

Last month the GoM employed Public Works Department to use a D8 earthmover to make a siting run of this roadway. At the same time they erected berms in front of houses along the valley edge on the premise that they were “protecting” these houses from the lahars. Last week the lahars wiped out the siting roadway and eroded the berms.  What a surprise.

At time of heavy rain we have witnessed 6 foot high waves and rolling rocks surging down the Belham valley with water filling the valley from Old Towne to Isles Bay.  The valley, we must remember, is actually the Belham River Valley.  Of course water runs down it.

Now let’s follow this to its natural conclusion. You’re a sandminer with a barge to fill. A lahar has just wiped out your temporary access road and the valley flloor is waterlogged. “Aha,” you think, “but we have an alternative route along Garibaldi Hill and down Beach Road to the jetty. Let’s use that! It’ll only be for a short time until we reinstate our roadway.”  That’s reality I’m afraid. And we are also afraid that no attention will be paid to the covenants guarding our properties from commercial usage, no attention will be paid to lorry weight limits on our roads (They are not enforced by the police now.)  And no attention will be paid to our residential right of quiet enjoyment of our property.

Of course, the terms of reference of the EIA have not been made public. No planning applications for the road access or the jetty have been received. No structural design of jetty or roads has been made public. No business plan, no financing arrangements for the development are available.
We hope it is not the GoM’s intention to fund a private enterprise which should be financing and taking the risk upon themselves. The public purse should be used for public, not private, purposes.
It appears a cabal of miners and politicians want to reveal as little of their intentions as possible, fully aware of the storm of protest that will ensue when all the above is revealed.

The Man from Garibaldi Hill suggests you take your plans and schemes to Foxes Bay where you will not be opposed for siting an industrial complex in a stable and less contentious site, as recommended by the Halcrow and OPML studies.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

So it’s decided then. Not officially, of course, because the Chief Minister has publicly stated that no decision has been made yet as to where the jetty to facilitate sand exports from the Belham Valley will be located.

It’s not Old Road Bay, where there is direct road access to the beach and where the old fishermen’s jetty used to be. Old road Bay is where one of the sandminers in years gone by extended the original jetty seawards using a Heath Robinson construction method of filling old containers with rocks. Old Road Bay is also where much money was wasted in employing a dredging company in a futile bid to deepen the barge access to the makeshift jetty. Both of these jetties, of course, have long disappeared beneath the mud, rocks and ash brought down the valley by the powerful lahars.

It’s not Foxes Bay, which also has direct road access, because the remit of the Environmental Impact Assessment does not cover Foxes Bay.  So no jetty will go there then, although we were led to believe that’s where it would definitely be built.

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It goes against all logic, but it’s now clear that it’s got to be Isles Bay where the EIA is being focused. Isles Bay too has direct road access to the beach, albeit that the eastern end of the road is 20 feet under ash. The road winds up Garibaldi Hill passing some 32 homes or splits and dives off down to the beach past the Betz house and over Montserrat Co. land. Mind you, there is not much left of this stretch of road called Beach Road because the 20 ton trucks that carted beach sand from Isles Bay Beach have mashed the road up as they have done on the Trants Road. No reparation has been made either to Trants or Beach roads. Impossible as it may seem, no one has been held accountable. Same destruction has taken place at Happy Hill where Shamrock Mining are operating.

Many people in Montserrat are unaware that the 32 homeowners on Garibaldi Hill enjoy the same services as the rest of Montserrat. Thanks to the public utilities, we have electricity, water, Internet access, telephones and even cable TV. There is no through traffic and our environment is best described as quiet, peaceful and serene. It seems, however, that such serenity may be about to change.

The sandminers do not propose to use our road, but not from any sense of altruism, as we shall see. Instead they propose to build a roadway, not a metalled road, but an access roadway of ash and rock base to cart their loads down the valley to the jetty on Isles Bay beach.

Last month the GoM employed Public Works Department to use a D8 earthmover to make a siting run of this roadway. At the same time they erected berms in front of houses along the valley edge on the premise that they were “protecting” these houses from the lahars. Last week the lahars wiped out the siting roadway and eroded the berms.  What a surprise.

At time of heavy rain we have witnessed 6 foot high waves and rolling rocks surging down the Belham valley with water filling the valley from Old Towne to Isles Bay.  The valley, we must remember, is actually the Belham River Valley.  Of course water runs down it.

Now let’s follow this to its natural conclusion. You’re a sandminer with a barge to fill. A lahar has just wiped out your temporary access road and the valley flloor is waterlogged. “Aha,” you think, “but we have an alternative route along Garibaldi Hill and down Beach Road to the jetty. Let’s use that! It’ll only be for a short time until we reinstate our roadway.”  That’s reality I’m afraid. And we are also afraid that no attention will be paid to the covenants guarding our properties from commercial usage, no attention will be paid to lorry weight limits on our roads (They are not enforced by the police now.)  And no attention will be paid to our residential right of quiet enjoyment of our property.

Of course, the terms of reference of the EIA have not been made public. No planning applications for the road access or the jetty have been received. No structural design of jetty or roads has been made public. No business plan, no financing arrangements for the development are available.
We hope it is not the GoM’s intention to fund a private enterprise which should be financing and taking the risk upon themselves. The public purse should be used for public, not private, purposes.
It appears a cabal of miners and politicians want to reveal as little of their intentions as possible, fully aware of the storm of protest that will ensue when all the above is revealed.

The Man from Garibaldi Hill suggests you take your plans and schemes to Foxes Bay where you will not be opposed for siting an industrial complex in a stable and less contentious site, as recommended by the Halcrow and OPML studies.