Categorized | Editorial, Local

What of the third of three bays, Gun Hill and Pipers Pond?

Editorial – May 16, 2014

Guest submission: Part one

In Port Royal, Jamaica, on June 7 1692, a generation of development was swept away in ignorance.

In Plymouth, Montserrat, from 1986 – 97, the ignorance was in the teeth of scientific evidence brought to attention but ignored.

And, ignored in ways that still haunt, bear witness to in the below. (And yes, we must not forget that in 1989, we had an opportunity to take heed to the warning of Wadge and Isaacs, in how we rebuilt post Hugo. Nor, should we overlook the lessons from the financial scandal.)

Be concerned that we are making very similar errors in how we are going about building the new town.

Those who refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

Where, sound journalism is famously, a first, rough draft of history.

For instance, a hurricane creates a reduced air pressure zone that can lead to a tidal bulge of perhaps 10 ft. Add to that 15 – 20 ft waves due to very high winds and multiply by the sort of 10 – 20 inches of rain that are possible. The implications for the new town centre are plain. And even so mundane a matter as a high water table, dealing with sewage, and the like should not be left out of our thinking.

Then, look at what is happening at Piper’s Pond despite quite plain warnings, even in documents.

Why is it that this alternative was fixed upon, despite there being alternatives that would have left the mangrove wetland significantly intact?

Remember, Pipers Pond is — was? can it be restored? — the LAST remaining mangrove wetland here. Do we understand and respect the interlocked ecosystems from ridge to reef that have mangroves as a key element? Do we respect the coastal functions provided by such wetlands? And more?

Why, in a world of eminent domain in the national interest, is there a push to put a hotel in Little Bay?

What happened to the third of the three bays?

Why was Gun Hill taken down, wantonly destroying a C17 artifact that could easily have been moved as a tourism interest point? And, why was the hill that protects Carrs bay taken out without a firm project in place to create the new port, if that was the “best” option? What will happen to the piled up materials if we get a major downpour from a tropical wave, that dumps 10″ of rain overnight, on top of what has already happened? Where would the potential mud flow go? What does the EIA say — empirically grounded technical details not summary statements, and why is it not easily accessible to the public?

What will become of the Carrs Bay battery, and the historic graveyard?

What worth and value do we attach to the heritage of our past for ourselves? Do we understand that it is our history and culture that give us any uniqueness as a tourism destination? In an Amazon world, tourists can buy nigh on anything right from the comfort of their homes and save the price of travel. And maybe at better prices too.

That is, a town centre that looks like a generic tourist trap shopping centre, is NOT our main attraction — even if we have duty free shopping. (A Yachtsman’s shop run by knowledgeable people might help.)

We need to focus first on respecting and cherishing our heritage for ourselves — and Port Royal Jamaica and English Harbour Antigua as well as Old Havana may be models. [I have seen all three, each has something to say.]

Then, on that basis, we can and should build intersecting culture heritage and nature heritage trails, with the Volcano as culminating exhibit. No-one else has our history and physical environment. That then, multiplied by genuine Caribbean hospitality [not veiled hostility and tourist trap get rich quick rip-offs] can become a sound basis for a tourism product.
Look out for part two – next issue

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – May 16, 2014

Guest submission: Part one

In Port Royal, Jamaica, on June 7 1692, a generation of development was swept away in ignorance.

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In Plymouth, Montserrat, from 1986 – 97, the ignorance was in the teeth of scientific evidence brought to attention but ignored.

And, ignored in ways that still haunt, bear witness to in the below. (And yes, we must not forget that in 1989, we had an opportunity to take heed to the warning of Wadge and Isaacs, in how we rebuilt post Hugo. Nor, should we overlook the lessons from the financial scandal.)

Be concerned that we are making very similar errors in how we are going about building the new town.

Those who refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

Where, sound journalism is famously, a first, rough draft of history.

For instance, a hurricane creates a reduced air pressure zone that can lead to a tidal bulge of perhaps 10 ft. Add to that 15 – 20 ft waves due to very high winds and multiply by the sort of 10 – 20 inches of rain that are possible. The implications for the new town centre are plain. And even so mundane a matter as a high water table, dealing with sewage, and the like should not be left out of our thinking.

Then, look at what is happening at Piper’s Pond despite quite plain warnings, even in documents.

Why is it that this alternative was fixed upon, despite there being alternatives that would have left the mangrove wetland significantly intact?

Remember, Pipers Pond is — was? can it be restored? — the LAST remaining mangrove wetland here. Do we understand and respect the interlocked ecosystems from ridge to reef that have mangroves as a key element? Do we respect the coastal functions provided by such wetlands? And more?

Why, in a world of eminent domain in the national interest, is there a push to put a hotel in Little Bay?

What happened to the third of the three bays?

Why was Gun Hill taken down, wantonly destroying a C17 artifact that could easily have been moved as a tourism interest point? And, why was the hill that protects Carrs bay taken out without a firm project in place to create the new port, if that was the “best” option? What will happen to the piled up materials if we get a major downpour from a tropical wave, that dumps 10″ of rain overnight, on top of what has already happened? Where would the potential mud flow go? What does the EIA say — empirically grounded technical details not summary statements, and why is it not easily accessible to the public?

What will become of the Carrs Bay battery, and the historic graveyard?

What worth and value do we attach to the heritage of our past for ourselves? Do we understand that it is our history and culture that give us any uniqueness as a tourism destination? In an Amazon world, tourists can buy nigh on anything right from the comfort of their homes and save the price of travel. And maybe at better prices too.

That is, a town centre that looks like a generic tourist trap shopping centre, is NOT our main attraction — even if we have duty free shopping. (A Yachtsman’s shop run by knowledgeable people might help.)

We need to focus first on respecting and cherishing our heritage for ourselves — and Port Royal Jamaica and English Harbour Antigua as well as Old Havana may be models. [I have seen all three, each has something to say.]

Then, on that basis, we can and should build intersecting culture heritage and nature heritage trails, with the Volcano as culminating exhibit. No-one else has our history and physical environment. That then, multiplied by genuine Caribbean hospitality [not veiled hostility and tourist trap get rich quick rip-offs] can become a sound basis for a tourism product.
Look out for part two – next issue