OUTRAGE IN THE COMMUNITY
A Town Hall Meeting was told last night that Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Mr. Leonard Nurse of (then of the Barbados Ministry of Housing, Lands and the Environment) met privately with the developer of the proposed Caribbean Splash water park – and THE PRIME MINISTER ORDERED THE WATER PARK BUILT ON THE SENSITIVE GRAEME HALL WATERSHED.
A special correspondent files the story…
Embarassment For Developer and Prime Minister At Town Hall Meeting
Last night we attended the Town Hall meeting to hear from the developer of Caribbean Splash. The plan is that his water park is going to be built in the Graeme Hall Watershed on agricultural land close to the ABC highway.
The developer, Matthew Kerins, opened the meeting by telling the 200+ Graeme Hall residents in attendance that he had no choice. He had been told that if he wanted to build a water park in Barbados he must build it there. Later we heard why.
Never mind that every government agency who had read the report was strongly opposed to installing it at Graeme Hall. Never mind that speaker after speaker asked questions that could not be answered by the various consultants that work for Mr. Kerins. It finally came out that Mr. Kerins had met with Mr. Leonard Nurse and the Prime Minister Owen Arthur and been given his marching orders. Which makes one wonder why everyone else is participating in the charade that pretends to debate, study, conduct tests, and expend a lot of energy when in the end it surely seems that this is a ‘done deal’
The Fix Is In – Prime Minister Playing Puppet Master
Apparently the wrong people were sitting on the dais.
Since it appears that Mr. Arthur and Mr. Nurse have made this decision and imposed it on Mr. Kerins then why were they not at the meeting to hear from the people and answer the questions? The Town and Country planner should have been there as well since many questions could not be answered except to say “TCP will have to tell us to do that”.
The meeting started off with a question asking for more details, facts and figures, of the many alternative sites which were said to have been studied. As it turned out, from beginning to end of the meeting that question was never answered.
Pretty pictures were shown by the consultant from Vancouver who builds water parks. Fun will be had by all, it is said, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day of the year when upwards of 5000 people per day will attend (2000 cars, biggest parking lot in Barbados). No gridlock is predicted.
No Plan For Disposal Of Toxic Waste
Vast volumes of brine and chlorine will be produced every day however it was not clear how they would be disposed of. This issue is apparently still under consideration. When an environmentalist mentioned during one question that release of these chemicals into the watershed would kill animals and fish and forever alter the wetlands and the Nature Sanctuary we were assured that there was no possibility of an accident. People who had lived through the recent ‘accidental’ spill –one speaker called it illegal -from the sewage treatment plan were not so sure.
We were told that noise will not be a problem however pointed questions regarding decibel levels could not be answered. We were told, though, that if there is too much noise we should not be opposed to screaming kids having fun.
We were told that since Mr. Kerins, an American with family ties in Barbados, has never suffered a failure in his business plans – he is a developer- he has seen no need to create an exit plan. Private estimates from people who are admittedly not experts in this area suggest that it would cost upwards of $8,000,000 dollars to demolish this park, sanitize the soil, and put in place all of the needed environmental protections if the business does not work out and the developer walks away.
Dr. Duguid – A Good Man Stuck In A Bad Place… or a Weak Man?
Dr. Duguid, the stalwart government representative for the riding was out in full force. Although he did not say so during the meeting he continues to privately confirm that he is opposed to this placement of the park. He was clearly not at the meeting between Matthew Kerins and the Prime Minister though..
The process from here forward assures the residents of Graeme Hall that the questions they have raised, especially those not yet answered, will be given careful consideration by Town and Country Planning once the developer submits a report of what issues were raised last night.
No Answers At Meeting – Government & Developer Continue To Hide Reports
The consultant from Barbados regularly answered a question with nothing but an assurance that an important issue, not yet studied, would be carefully addressed once approval from TCP is given. No assurances were given that any of us will ever see the next version of the plan. A request that all further documents be published on the internet was met with silence. We left thinking that this water park is going to be built at Graeme Hall and we are supposed to keep our fingers crossed that the vague promises will be carried out, that the questions which were not answered will be addressed, that the promised scientific studies will be undertaken, and, in the end we will be happy that the water park is close to where we live.
Why should we be concerned?
Previous BFP Water Park Articles – Link here.