ST JOHN’S, Antigua – There will be no environmental impact assessment on a contentious $1.9 million hotel project set for the Cedar Tree Point area within the Codrington Lagoon National Park.
Environmentalists have raised concerns about the impact of the 15 -bungalow hotel project on the national park. But Barbuda Council Chairman Arthur Nibbs said the Environment Division advised that such a study is not needed.
“The level of this development does not require an impact study, what you will have is an environmental statement and the environmentalists were over here a couple of days ago and they will issue that in a couple of days,” Nibbs said.
The project has been approved by the Barbuda Council but the central government is yet to grant any concessions or ask the governor general to prepare a lease for the as yet unidentified St Maarten investors.
Environmentalist John Mussington believes the council is pushing ahead too fast and an impact assessment is needed.
“The lagoon is a National Park, it is also a RAMSAR site – that’s the convention to protect wetlands; it’s also the location of the Bird Sanctuary and that project is adjacent to the Bird Sanctuary,” Mussington said.
“We are facing climate change, we know for a fact that that sand bar on the edge of the lagoon there is going to be subject to serious storm surge … how can he expect that you are not going to require an environmental impact assessment?” Mussington queried.
Member of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) MacKenzie Frank also charged that Nibbs is a hypocrite for going against rules created during his previous stint as chairman of the council.
Meanwhile, Nibbs also revealed that the developers, through their company Barbuda Bell Ltd, have donated equipment towards the restoration of the old Government House in Barbuda.
The Cedar Tree Point hotel project is set to include 15 bungalows, a club house and a beach bar and restaurant on 21 acres of land.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)