Developer says concerns in rejected Barbuda hotel plan have been addressed

- Advertisement -

A regional investor is confident that his recently resubmitted hotel development plans for Barbuda will be approved by the Department of the Environment (DoE).
The Managing Director of Kelly Construction, Seamus Kelly said all previous concerns have been addressed in the St Kitts-based company’s latest proposal.
“The DoE was concerned that the project was a little bit too dense, [it was] concerned about some noise issue and about a solid waste issue,” Kelly told OBSERVER media yesterday. “We re-submitted another proposal by cutting from 11 buildings down to five buildings. So, it’s five luxury villas, we also addressed their other concerns.”
The investor said the new proposal was sent by the Council to the DoE about three weeks ago and the DoE has referred it to the Development Control Authority (DCA).
He said it seems the DoE is satisfied with the new design because it addresses the issued raised.
Kelly said he was unaware that the site for the hotel, on the thin strip of land on the far side of the lagoon, was an issue. He said that his company initially flew in consultants and experts from as far as Jamaica and London who took samples and compiled a full report.
He said the report concluded that there will be no long term environmental effects from the project. according to Kelly, the DoE had agreed with the report.
However, Ruleta Camacho Thomas, Deputy Chief Environment Officer in the Environmental Division, the officer who processed the initial proposal raised concerns about the project.
Yesterday she told OBSERVER media, “Late last year, the Barbuda Council asked us to do what is called a preliminary analysis on the proposal. We did a review and one of the recommendations was for it to be submitted to the official environmental impact assessment process. We are aware that there is a second proposal but we have not officially received the revised version.”
Camacho Thomas added that in order for the DoE to do an in-depth review of the proposal, the council would need to submit the revised version to the DCA. Noting that the site is high risk and numerous vulnerability tests have been carried out on the site, Thomas said, nonetheless, the new downsized version will be analysed on its own merit.
Councilwoman Asha Frank had raised concerns about the location of the project and its potentially negative impact on the environment. She said that she had spoken to officers within the DoE, and she was convinced that relocation would be best since the current site is a national park area. Frank also pointed out that lack of detail in the previously submitted proposal was another contentious point for her party – the Barbuda Peoples Movement (BPM).
She said that vague proposals have been a recurring problem seen among potential investors when making submissions to the council. “This practice needs to change if the council is going to be able to properly assess a proposal and its overall impact on the economy of Barbuda,” Frank told OBSERVER media on Tuesday. She also pointed to regulations and guidelines about the information that proposals should contain.
The Lighthouse Bay Resort and the Barbuda Belle Luxury Beach Hotel are two properties that have already been built in the lagoon area and their construction caused significant uproar among local

- Advertisement -