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Romora Bay Expansion: 13 April District Council Meeting
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Posted by:May 2nd 2005, 05:01:17 pm
myaI have also heard about the expansion of the romor aby hotel i was wondering has any bother really look at what it will do the workers who knows there was talk about closing the hotels and the workers being out of a job while contrusction is going on. now could someone tell me what good does that do for the workers so is it realy worth it and at what expense really??????????????????????
Posted by:Apr 29th 2005, 11:45:27 am
Fig Tree News TeamDiscussions continue at the highest level with regard to development in the Out Islands:

April 29, 2005
Bahamas Land Policy Flawed
The Bahamas has to strike a balance between the various development projects that it is relying on to stimulate economic growth and preserving treasured resources.

Government decisions regarding land development in The Bahamas are made in a vacuum without a real understanding of the carrying capacity of the infrastructure, according to the InterAmerican Development Bank [IDB] which just recently approved a $3.5 million loan for a land use policy and administration project.

Prime Minister Perry Christie has admitted as much in recent times, conceding that the Government of The Bahamas has to strike a balance between the various development projects that it is relying on to stimulate economic growth and preserving treasured resources.

In a document detailing the loan proposal, the project team lead by Fernando Bretas, said the sustainable use and rational development of land and coastal resources is vital to avoid a long-term detrimental impact on the economy.

"Currently, the natural resources are under pressure from unplanned and in some cases difficult to sustain development," the report noted.

The land administration project is intended to substantially reduce the time required for recording deeds, increase the property tax payrolls by 20 percent and bolster revenues generated from crown lands by 40 percent.

Crown land accounts for approximately 70 percent of all land in the country with the remainder being private property. Of the 3.45 million acres of crown land on the major islands, the government allocates a little more than 32 percent of it.

The IDB says a specific policy that relates to crown land is crucial.

"A clearly defined crown land policy is essential in order to improve land tenure security and ensure the effective and sustainable use of land resources. While standard administrative procedures are in place, allocation, administration and pricing are done on a largely ad-hoc basis.

"In general, the process for allocating crown land is not well understood by the general public and largely in part due to the lack of a clearly stated government policy, is open to the perception of unfairness and favouritism," the document said.

Over the years and in recent times, there have been conflicts in which certain individuals have alleged impropriety in the government grant of crown lands for certain development projects.

The government has been working in overdrive to attract various levels of direct foreign investment for a series of anchor projects that could boost the smaller, underdeveloped economies of the Family Islands.

But while the prime minister has endorsed this trend, he made it clear that a balance has to be struck between public and private interests.

Just recently he said the government intends to purchase land in the South Ocean area to prevent it from being sold as part of a proposed multimillion-dollar subdivision.

The American investors seeking the government's approval for the subdivision want to develop it as an exclusive gated community with a Tiger Woods golf course to attract some of the world's wealthiest people, Mr. Christie said.

Only recently, the prime minister told The Bahama Journal that the government is looking favourably at a plan for the luxurious community development, which also includes a marina.

He urged a balanced approach to development.

"We don't want to get ourselves in the position where we say no to foreign investors in purchasing. We want to be careful of that, but at the same time we know that to have the social calming effect in our country we have to be able to always have this balance between what is happening to effect the inflow of capital and what is happening to give Bahamians the release to move upward," he said.

IDB consultants acknowledged the absence of an integrated national land policy to ensure a pattern of growth and use of land that supports land development while addressing sustainability issues and environmental concerns.

The existing model, they said, was not designed to address the type of development pressure that the country, specifically the Family Islands, is currently experiencing and actively promoting as a strategy for economic development.

The revised policy that the government will pursue with the IDB loan would also provide for digital mapping, geographic databases and a parcel information management system to record location, ownership and property values on the most populated islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama.

A computerized information system and a land surveying initiative will rationalize procedures and facilitate grants and leases of crown land.

By: Tameka Lundy, The Bahama Journal
Posted by:Apr 28th 2005, 08:13:19 am
MaddieWell said, Brilankid!
Posted by:Apr 28th 2005, 07:58:45 am
BrilandkidI have lived in and traveled in many cities in the United States seen a lot of growth both positive and negative in lots of places, But when it comes to Harbour Island a lot has to be considered and for the council members, I know them all personally and I know they love Briland just as much as I do and will consider the facts and the best to their ability. Harbour Island will and must grow, but at what cost. I know some of my people will opt to yes for such projects like the Ugly Valentines project they can only see this as positive for their perspective or level. Money in hand definitely not considering the future. Every place that I have traveled in the USA and would run into people that have traveled to Harbour Island it was first the beauty then the uniqueness of the Island and it’s people you cannot compare it with any key west Florida it is better or any other Caribbean ports it is better it as a class all it’s own. I remember growing up on the Island and would meet people on the street like the actor Mr. Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) or Joseph Kennedy whom I personally sail with on a small scorpion sail boat as his guide. These are normal day to day for then Briland. I am trying to point out that we are unique. Now some say we have to look like Nassau or Freeport or like a US port for yachts and commercial tourist I say that is ignorant and selfish. Briland can be develop in such a way to protect it’s very fragile environment and it’s successfully tourist industry it has had for year prior to the big money investors, whose main concern is money and more money when the well is dry they move on to other wells to dry. Yachter’s again are good people, but cannot confused with tourist they are not your typical tourist who spends with all. My fellow Brilanders must consider growth but how much and whose expense and where to grow. We must not flush or children’s future down the toilet. Tell those money hungry politicians save the ribbon cutting and the ground breaking ceremony for the Nassau Straw market. Politicians have and will always had their own self interest first. Open your eyes my fellow Brilanders chose a positive future save the future do not let these foreign developers dictate your future and your children’s Briland was God’s gift to us not them !!!!! Briland sweet hey??? Remember safe guard your children‘s future. I’ am the Brilandkid Born Der,
Posted by:Apr 26th 2005, 01:44:39 pm
ColinI've never lived on Briland, though I've long wanted to. And I've never invested in the island, though I'd love to. But I do consider myself an honorary Brilander, if only because so many family members and friends get so sick of my talking about Briland as if I'd been there last week.
A number of folks on the board have criticized "locals" or cast stones at "foreigners" in connection with the Romora Bay development and other efforts in the last year or so.
This is dangerous for Briland.
The Bahamas, Europe and the United States are inextricbly intertwined. The Bahamas, being a bit short on land and not having many minerals to dig up or oil to pump out will always have to depend on international finance, tourism, sport fishing, yachting and real estate investment by foreigners to help maintain a decent standard of living for its people.
Most of those people will have more money than most Bahamians. I expect this will always be grounds for some friction, as it is in other archipelagoes like the Seychelles or Maldives.
Both the investor and host country benefit.
But Briland --with its extraordinary beauty, location and its unique history (Preacher's Cave, the land grants etc) can make a conscious decision to cater to those who will provide it with the greatst return on their investment.
If Brilanders, with their limited water, limited land and fragile environment want to attract large numbers of tourists who will spend much less money per person --but more in aggregate -- that is an enormous risk that is theirs to take. But they must not forget that investors -- like voters -- can cast ballots on Briland's future. If water runs low or sewage runs high or the island paradies they were sold in a brochure turns out to be less attractive than expected, investors and visitors will fade away. Briland is so gorgeous I don't think it will ever be ruined, but Vanuatu and other Pacific islands that once boasted vibrant tourism and foreign investment now suffer from extreme environmental degradation and have lost most income from overseas. It can happen. But the broader question is how will the Bahamian government --and Brilanders -- manage the gorgeous jewel we all care for so much.
After all, Briland is one of the few Out Islands other Bahamians without relatives there visit for holidays. The decision about Romora Bay will help point the way for Bahamian development for decades to come.
I wish everyone involved good luck. It will affect all of us.
Posted by:Apr 25th 2005, 04:40:44 pm
KimberlySeveral people are reporting being unable to access the messageboard ... can you please e-mail info@briland.com, and detail exactly what is happening when you try to post? We'll do our best to tweak the board accordingly.

Babsfishes@aol.com, a yacht broker in Fort Lauderdale (and long-time visitor to Harbour Island) drops a line that she hasn't been able to post to the board herself:

"I had read and heard about the Valentine's project sometime ago and thought the design was kind of an eye sore for the area but figured it was needed for the island. I guess my question would be, "How many tourists are enough per year to sustain a healthy economy?" Plus shortage always causes great demand. People always want what someone else has even if it's not great. They just have to have it.

Has anyone done an economical study of how much money would go back to the community based on each unit rented. How the funds would be distributed through the community? Is it a healthy distribution?

They really need to start doing some economic impact studies at the developers' expense before granting any permits to anyone in the future. Harbour Island in its own way is an ecosystem. It doesn't take much to devastate a system that small. It's only a matter of time before its reign is over. The lifestyles of the rich and famous are fickle, not loyal. Plus you can already see the changes that have taken place over the last few years on Harbour Island.
Posted by:Apr 25th 2005, 04:29:03 pm
MaddieJust what Harbour Island doesn't need is the Carnival types invading...
Posted by:Apr 25th 2005, 10:36:36 am
JimvpI understand that the president of Carnival Cruise Lines is on the advisory committee of the Parmenter Group that took over Romora Bay.
Posted by:Apr 24th 2005, 01:37:12 pm
MaddieThank you for your well written summation of the issue at hand.

I would heartily agree with Dick Malcolm and Neville Major.

I do have an issue with Mr. Grant's comment "that the real motivation of the second homeowners in opposing the project is their fear for the rental market for private homes once so many new hotel rooms are built."

If that fear exsists, my guess is that it is only secondary to their fears about a lack of water and electricity, an increase in garbage and traffic, pollution of the harbour, additional pressure on the fishing grounds, an increase in crime and a loss of the "Briland" atmosphere that has made the island what it is today.

I think a number of my fellow long time winter residents would be happy to write the powers that be in Nassua or anyone else you can suggest, to express our opposition to these projects. Could you please provide us with names, address and/or e-mail addresses?

Thank you!
Posted by:Apr 24th 2005, 01:18:01 pm
Fig Tree News TeamAs a result of the recent town meeting with principals of the proposed Romora Bay marina expansion project, all recent developments on Harbour Island have come under closer scrutiny, with ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Health, the BEST Commission, and Office of the Prime Minister:

Excerpts below from Rupert Missick’s recent article in the Nassau Tribune, “Developments ‘may destroy Harbour Island economy’:

“The economic base of what has been described as the archetype of the “idyllic Family Island community” may soon disappear due to the encroachment of two intrusive new developments, a local business man told The Tribune.

Richard Malcolm, whose family founded and operated the famed Pink Sands Resort for many years, said that the proposed development at the Romora Bay Marina and Valentine’s Bay may chase away the winter residents who have brought the island “enormous success.”

………………

He described the two developments as “overkill” and said that it would be much better suited and more needed on the Eleuthera mainland, a few miles away. Mr. Malcolm pointed out that the Valentine’s development “will be sitting in the middle of a 200 year-old settlement,” which was expected to soon be declared a historical site by the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation.

“The idea is to protect and preserve that, “ said Mr. Malcolm.

Local businessman Neville “Baretta” Major further described the two developments as “ugly,” and said that more development on the island would overwhelm what is already becoming a congested population.

“If I had known that [Prime Minister] Perry Christie had come down here to break ground on a three-storey ugly place like that, I would have taken the shovel out of his hand,” he said.

Protests against the planned developments in Harbour Island have grown in the past few weeks, with resident expressing their concern about the rapid expansion.

The developers spoke at a town meeting recently, in an effort to foster some kind of understanding between the two parties.

***

Excerpts from Andrew Allen’s “Perspectives’ column in the Nassau Tribune, 18 April 2005, which focuses on a few of the current conversations:

In the wake of the recent public meeting on Harbour Island, local businessman Warren Grant opined that the Romora Bay expansion is something that is perceived by native Brilanders to be in their best interests, and that the real motivation of the second homeowners in opposing the project is their fear for the rental market for private homes once so many new hotel rooms are built.

He suggests, too, that while it may suit the second homeowners to keep things just as they are now, the local business community (of which he is a significant part) actually yearns for more such large hotel projects of the kind promised by the Romora Bay and Valentine’s Yacht Club expansions.

Right or wrong, his is a point of view advanced by many locals.

Like many Harbour Islanders, Mr. Grant has clearly witnessed with mixed emotions the steady growth in the island’s popularity as a second home destination. Tales abound of homes and beachfront properties in Briland quadrupling in price over the last decade. In one instance, a home that was listed for sale in the summer of 1990 for $80,000 was recently sold for more than $1 million.

……………

Where has all of this left the locals? Certainly, it has left them with jobs. Reliable estimates suggest that Harbour Island has negative employment of up to ten percent. This means that the island must augment its workforce by bringing in many mainland Eleutherans (some from as far south as Rock Sound) as day workers. All of this has led to a huge upsurge in the importation of consumer goods onto the island.

Yet whatever the benefits of the Harbour Island economic model, it has signally failed to create anything resembling a middle class on the island. This is in stark contrast to the intensive tourist industry in New Providence of Grand Bahama, which continued to sustain the growth of a professional and entrepreneurial middle class.

……………

Whereas intensive hotel developments by their nature concentrate visitors to a limited physical area, a model based on second home ownership spreads this physical occupation to the point that it competes, generally successfully, with locals for space. In a place as compact and urbanized as Harbour Island, the inevitable result is a form of segregation that eventually feeds off itself.

Unsurprisingly, then, ghettoization is now such a pronounced trend on this little island that it would probably take many years to reverse, even if we did have a government up to the task. Also, unsurprisingly, crime has come, too.

……………

It may very well be the case that the Romora Bay project is simply too big, too environmentally intrusive and too out of keeping with Briland’s character to be responsibly approved.

That will only be apparent when and if the government makes public the heads of agreement it has signed with the developer.

But the schism that is now undoubtedly developing in Briland points to matters much deeper than one of two individual projects. It suggests an island suffering the effects of the age-old Bahamian tendency simply to grasp onto good times without a thought of planning for the future or even influencing the present.

Briland has done well by default, with no one ever addressing seriously what kind of community it should be: a second home community for wealthy northerners, or a real resort island characterized by small and medium-sized hotels.

Thus far, all the elements at play ** locals, hoteliers, second homeowners ** have simply co-existed, since whatever divergent visions for the island they had had not reached the point of overlap. Now it seems that they have.

***

Compiled by the Fig Tree News Team, Apr 2005.
Posted by:Apr 21st 2005, 07:33:11 pm
BrilandkidI have heard that no definite decision has been made, I still hope that the board and the decision makers in Nassau take a long and hard look at Our Briland and the fact that we would not want to see Key west in North Elethera they must cosider the Goose that laid the Golden egg. I have confidence the Board will see Briland first, But Nassau is a total different story that I would refrain from my personal opinion of Nassau policy makers at this time. Thank you
Posted by:Apr 21st 2005, 12:33:59 pm
Colin1 -- Did the meeting occur?

2 -- If it did, why have we seen no summary of what happened?

3 -- Please let us know if the meeting occurred and post a dispassionate summary of the event.

Please.

Colin
Posted by:Apr 21st 2005, 08:58:16 am
kristiYes - please let us know what went on and what was decided !
Posted by:Apr 21st 2005, 08:53:58 am
MaddieI think it is very interesting that one week after the meeting there has been no re-cap posted on this site...
Posted by:Apr 18th 2005, 04:02:20 pm
smittyI thought the board would be buzzing with the results of the meeting.There was a meeting, wasn't there?
Posted by:Apr 17th 2005, 09:38:36 am
MaddieWas anyone at the meeting on the 13th? Can you tell us what happened?
Posted by:Apr 17th 2005, 09:35:58 am
BrilandkidLionel Brilandkid gere, where were you born are you from Briland? Do not look at this as a personal attack but you seem quite vain. I know where I was born and my navel string was buried in colebroke lane Harbour Island, In the center of Harbour Island. Can you say that? This development is a concern when it becomes an enviromental issue when it threatens our fragile ecosystem a system that all True loving Bahamaians Share. you Lionel must stop looking down if front at your big toe and and profits. Try thinking outside the box. Without Briland's enviromrnt we will be just another boat stop. Our enviroment and our beach our people as made us different and unique not the condo's and the docks they have far better condo's and docks than we will ever, ever have in Key West why come to briland for Key West, DUH!!! I see you are not a bona fide Brilander so Back off buddy. I love my Briland and love productive development that will work in concert with the it's people and enviroment. speaking of nostalgic there was suppose to be a law on the books that no building shall be constructed over two stories I do not recall that being changed. Do you???? So zipp it!!
Posted by:Apr 16th 2005, 10:38:09 pm
Love29What i would like to say at this time is that we are forgetting what makes Harbour Island the place it is. Brilanders are looking at it wrong most of the time we only look at the money part of things. If you notice only a few brilanders are makeing any of the money thats being spent on harbour island as the ones who are makeing it are just grabing more for them selfs. We need to wake up.
Posted by:Apr 16th 2005, 11:04:01 am
Richard PWe foreigners are in the Bahamas, whether on vacation or visiting an investment property, as guests. While all have a right to an opinion I do not believe non-citizens have a right to organize dissent. This moves the debate from one of opinion to political persuasion. I believe we are welcome to be on the sidelines to enjoy the beauty of this country but we have not been invited and are not welcome to participate in activities that influence policy and the rule of law in a sovereign country.
Posted by:Apr 15th 2005, 11:51:07 am
Fig Tree News TeamToday's Nassau Guardian:

'Suspend all beach and harbour construction' says Coalition

Raymond Kongwa,Guardian Staff Reporter
raymond@nasguard.com

A pressure group, which successfully lobbied against a controversial residential development between 1999 and 2002, is now calling on government to freeze construction on beaches and closely monitor other activities affecting coastal areas.

In a recently released statement, The Coalition To Save Clifton says the country's coastal environment, particularly around New Providence, is under 'relentless attack' mostly 'by ignorant, greedy and selfish individuals.'

"A moratorium should be placed on construction on beaches," the Coalition recommends as a way to curb developers' 'indiscriminate' abuse of coastal areas. "Construction of private docks, abutments, break waters, dredging, excavations and other man-made inventions must be strictly controlled as changes and alterations in the flow of currents can have unforeseen devastating affects."

The Coalition admonished government to halt privatisation of beaches and coastal properties; reacquire such lands already seized; and create access to all beaches.

Calling on Bahamians to 'vigilantly guard their precious heritage,' the alliance challenges all public and private organisations to 'promote the interest and well being of Bahamian people.'

Coalition spokseman Senator Rev Dr C.B. Moss pointed out Thursday that progressive countries such as Brazil prohibited construction next to beaches, and instead, permitted development only on opposite sides of roads lining city coasts. Noting that much of this capital city's coast was already blocked from view, he said that without immediate action, Bahamians would become more and more closed in.

"When people build on the beach they are actually building enclosures," he opined.

The Coalition recommends Coastal Awareness Month be extended for a month to be designated: 'Coastal Rescue Month.' While conceding the promotion of environmental awareness had its place, Dr Moss said levels of degradation of The Bahamas' coastal areas were so severe that activism was needed.

Prime Minister Perry Christie has declared the month of April Coastal Awareness Month throughout the Commonwealth. The Coastal Awareness Committee - a multi-sector group comprising public and private sector partners - is coordinating a number of events geared at promoting coastal environmental awareness among everyone living in these islands.

Meanwhile, the Coalition To Save Clifton has tempered its pleasure over plans for a National Heritage Park being established at the historic Clifton site with concern that a desire to act swiftly could lead to 'bad results.'

"The coalition maintains and reiterates its original position that prior to any plans being formulated for the site, or work commenced thereon, a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the archaeological, anthropological, environmental, historical, cultural and other aspects of the site be undertaken," says the statement.

The lobby of the Coalition To Save Clifton over the Clifton site culminated with developers who proposed to build an upscale residential community on the site in Southwest New Providence withdrawing their proposal. At least three civilisations are believed to have passed through Clifton.

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