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Hatchet Bay: Power Plant Launch Delayed
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Page 1 of 1Total of 4 messages
Posted by:Oct 31st 2009, 05:38:41 pm
Fig Tree News Team[Ed. Lord Dunmore Grouper says, "Why in 2010 we are still building out diesel-dependent generator plants is anyone's guess."]

PM: Town meetings should have been held on power plants

By BRENT DEAN ~ Guardian Senior Reporter ~

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has acknowledged that town hall meetings should have been held in Eleuthera and Abaco before the construction of power plants by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), and he has also ordered BEC to show cause why it should use the controversial Bunker C fuel in the operation of the plants.

While wrapping up debate yesterday evening on the Town Planning and Subdivisions Bill in the House of Assembly, the prime minister expressed "regret" for not conducting the meeting prior to beginning of the construction of each of the plants.

However, Ingraham said that he supports the continued construction of the Wilson City, Abaco plant.

"And so Mr. Speaker, the work at the power plant at Wilson City is ongoing. There are still some arguments by a few people as to whether it should go in Wilson City. I'm now satisfied that it's the right place for it to go. And I will happily take members of the environmental community and others there sometime in November," he said.

Since work started on the project in August, some Abaco residents have stressed strong objections to the $90 million power plant. Several weeks ago a town hall meeting was held in Abaco in response to the concerns of residents. Last week, nearly 100 Abaco residents marched in protest on that island to voice their concerns about the plant.

In early September, an online campaign was launched by concerned residents who are against the Wilson City Power Plant. Some fear that the plant will result in irreversible environmental damage to the area if it is powered by Bunker C fuel.

Some of those residents have obtained representation from attorney Fred Smith.

Smith has said he plans to launch judicial review proceedings against BEC after the project was allowed to start without the proper permits.

Ingraham noted to the House that there are no communities living near the plant site.

"There are one or two foreign residents who live on an island nearby who presumably would not like to see within their vista a power plant and I could understand that but that's not a basis upon which I cannot build a power plant," he said.

Ingraham said that he has directed BEC to show cause why it should not use a cleaner diesel fuel than Bunker C, which is a point of contention for some Abaco residents.

The prime minister also acknowledged the government has not been as forthcoming as it should have been about the plant.

"The (environmental impact assessment plan) should have been public. It should have been on the web and the public should have been able to comment upon it," he said. "All things which the government does in terms of construction, etcetera, the public has a right to know, to ask and to comment upon and to critique. And the extent to which we have not lived up to that I offer my regret, Mr. Speaker."

The Town Planning and Subdivisions Bill seeks to improve the structure and administration of the Town Planning Committee and the Department of Physical Planning. Among other things, it would create more stringent guidelines for road creation and town planning.

For example, the bill requires developers to have an EIA done before a development is brought before the special committee for approval.

Earlier this week, President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) William Wong called on the Ingraham administration to scrap the bill and start all over again. He argued that the bill is littered with "contradictions and inefficiencies" and will ultimately drive real estate prices even higher. He said the government should have consulted with stakeholders before the bill was drafted.

Wong said his association was never contacted, nor was any of the professionals who he contacted, about the bill.

Prime Minister Ingraham rejected this assertion yesterday. He cited a speech he gave to BREA in May at an event on Paradise Island where he informed them of the bill. Ingraham added that he told those assembled that the bill would be on the website of the Ministry of the Environment in June and that all responses sent in by mid-September would be considered.

"You know some people Mr. Speaker wear their politics on their sleeves, and seek to cloak their partisan bias in the respectability of speaking for non-partisan groups," he said.

Ingraham noted that 13 different people, or groups, have put forward suggestions about the legislation.

The House completed the second reading of the bill yesterday. The government has agreed for the bill to remain in a House committee pending further consultation. Ingraham said the bill will be passed by the House some time either in late November or early December.

Friday, October 30, 2009
Posted by:Oct 30th 2009, 11:45:43 am
KimberlyYes, ma'am ... at least theoretically ;-)!
Posted by:Oct 30th 2009, 07:27:04 am
MaddieIs this plant supposed to help the supply on Harbour Island?
Posted by:Oct 30th 2009, 05:40:36 am
Fig Tree News TeamConstruction of Eleuthera power plant resumes

By JASMIN BONIMY ~ Guardian Staff Reporter ~

Almost a month after a multimillion-dollar power plant in Eleuthera was slated to be finished, officials say work has recently resumed on the incomplete Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) facility.

According to BEC officials the plant in Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera was originally slated to be completed last month. But that date has been pushed back as a result of the delay in construction..

In mid-September, Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour revealed that construction the Family Island power plant was put on hold as BEC workers scrambled to obtain several permits.

But Neymour confirmed yesterday that construction teams are back to work at the Hatchet Bay site.

"Work has resumed at the BEC plant in Eleuthera," he said.

Neymour added that BEC officials obtained the permits needed for the Abaco plant almost two weeks ago, giving workers the "go-ahead" to return to that site. When asked if he was aware of the new projected completion date for the plant, Neymour said officials believe the project is now two months behind schedule.

"I cant give you an exact date, but we expect to be completed at the end of November.

According to the minister, the entire Hatchet Bay project is estimated to cost $25 million.

"It's a smaller facility than that of Abaco but it is meant to supplement the capacity in Eleuthera," he said.

In December 2008, BEC officials announced that work would commence on the 16 megawatt power plant in early 2009. They said the new Hatchet Bay facility would be a modern means of providing sufficient and efficient power services to the island.

The Eleuthera power generation plant was the second BEC project to be paused in recent weeks. In mid-September, work on the $90 million Wilson City, Abaco power plant was also stopped.

Work on the Abaco plant has also resumed according to Neymour, who revealed last week that all necessary permits were obtained by the government on October 16. The delay in obtaining those permits halted the project for more than a month.

Monday, October 26, 2009

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