|Baha Mar official explains beach restoration process|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jun 26, 2012
The portion of beach along Baha Mar’s property that has been blocked off from the public will remain that way until sometime next year, according to Baha Mar’s Executive Vice President of Construction Tom Dunlap.
While he did not have the exact date, Dunlap speculated that by next spring members of the public will be able to take advantage of the beach once again.
Beach access surrounding the Baha Mar property is blocked by boulders and a long sea wall to facilitate a beach restoration exercise.
Dunlap explained that the exercise is a three-pronged process.
“Essentially, those three steps — the building of the sea wall, the removal of the old Wyndham groin, and then the pumping in of the beach sand — will restore this back to [how it used to be],” Dunlap said. “The original beach line will properly be restored to where it should have been.”
While beach-goers can expect to regain access to that part of the beach next year, Dunlap said the full beach restoration will probably take about 10 years.
“We budgeted that we’ll have to do a sand re-nourishment midway in the opening of the resort, and hopefully in 10 years mother nature is stabilized and we can look at a beach photo in 2020, and we can look at a beach photo in 1960 and recognize it again,” he said. “But it certainly doesn’t look like it today.”
According to Robert Sands, senior vice president of external and governmental affairs, Baha Mar intends to hold a public meeting in mid July.
He said the public will be updated on the construction progress and the beach nourishment program, which he acknowledged has attracted a lot of attention.
Concerns about Baha Mar’s actions at Cable Beach have been circulating on social media for days with some residents claiming that the company is destroying the beach.
“Cable Beach has been blocked by boulders and a long wall that are destroying the natural beach like the Crystal Palace hotel and pools did years ago…They are reclaiming the natural beach to get more land,” claimed one concerned resident.
Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett explained in a statement that the surge wall was simply an insurance requirement to protect the hotel structure from water damage and collapse in the event of a hurricane.
“The insurance company also required that the completion of the construction of the surge wall was to be finished prior to the 2012 hurricane season. To date, it has been completed,” he said.
Dorsett also pointed out Baha Mar does not own the beach. He added that the surge wall will be destroyed after the beach has been re-nourished.
“Baha Mar applied for and signed a lease with The Bahamas government only to rent the Crown Land where the beach is currently situated for its hotel guests,” he said.