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« Bahamas Election 2012 Forecasts | Main | Jumbey Village – Montage of a Dream Deferred »

April 10, 2012

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Valentine Logar

Having just returned from Nassau there is another side to some of these 'improvements' and that is the loss of beaches, eco-systems and island culture.

I have been a regular visitor to New Providence for nearly 25 years, making annual treks. Sometimes more frequently even. I love the islands and have always loved the natural beauty, even with some of the downside of the infrastructure. Certainly, there were improvements that were needed.

My latest trip though, after a two year hiatus, was eye opening and not in a positive way. There are no more public beaches remaining it seems for Native Bahamians to enjoy, they have been taken over and destroyed. New ports at what cost to the eco-system, has anyone asked?

The Chinese money brings along with it an influx of new building projects but little in the way of employment for Bahamians that I saw.

Ah, well it seems the Bahamas are learning the lessons of Capitalism well from the US and to your great detriment. The once beautiful island of New Providence is becoming nothing more than an adult playground, a jump off for Cruise ships with little cultural preservation remaining.

larry smith

Not quite. The shoreline projects mentioned in my article are all on developed land downtown - from the British Colonial east to the PI entrance bridge. No public beaches are involved - only former freight terminals, etc. And developers along the waterfront are being required by the government to build a public boardwalk along the shore that will eventually extend the entire length of Bay Street.

The environmental and financial cost to enlarge the existing port at Arawak Cay (and consolidate the downtown shipyards there) was the least of all the options available. No option to move the port was without an environmental or financial cost, and the cargo port had to be moved to make way for expansion, as well as the revitalisation of the city.

Arawak Cay was created when the harbour was dredged in 1966 to expand cruise ship access, and was expanded by more recent harbour dredging. The new port located there cost about $80 million.

A decade or more ago the Inter-American Development Bank put a price tag of $200 million on a move to Clifton (excluding ancillary infrastructure works and land acquisition), and would have taken years to build out. The cost would be much greater today, and that option required excavating acres of seabed and forest at southwest point, an environmentally sensitive area.

As should be clear from my article, many of the projects planned or underway for downtown are based on the city's historical assets.

Baha Mar and the Chinese investment is a different issue.

Nick Higgs

Great to hear a positive story about downtown Nassau - there is hope!

I am a little skeptical about the long-term viability of these projects though. Is there money in place for maintenance and upkeep? This seems to be the real issue with Bahamian development. Fighting entropy is a mean task in the Bahamas and buildings quickly become run-down and ragged after a few hurricanes. As long as one or two faded, shoddy buildings exist, any redevelopment will be marred.

Perhaps the Bahamas needs to implement Bermuda-style legislation regarding property upkeep; certainly for sensitive areas like downtown Nassau?

F.M.L. Group of Companies

Dear Larry ,
I do hope our renovations make us all proud .

Leandra Esfakis

As this article indicates downtown revitalization depends largely on private enterprise, creativity, and private interest in maintaining the revitalized down-town product - in an appropriate regulatory environment.
It is encouraging to see the renvoation of the Public buildings and Courts around Rawson Square. Historically, government's track record on maintenance has been less than adequate. Let's hope we have turned the corner on that issue, and care and maintenance become part of our culture so we can be rightfully proud of who we are, what we have, and what we have done.

Simon Townend

Great article Larry. It is fantastic to see all of this happening in the downtown area, and as they say, a rising tide floats all boats. I think in 10 years, with the ongoing infrastructure improvements and revitalization efforts, downtown Nassau will be something to be proud of.

I also note your comment on the Southwest port cost of $200 million. I believe it would in fact have been even more than this, and when you divide that cost by the same number of containers that will be coming through Arawak, can you imagine what would have happened to the cost of living!!!! People are complaining about the current port impact on costs!

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