Barbados Government Steals 2/3 Of Parkland For Developer Friends – Graeme Hall Environmental Disaster Continues

After being elected in January, 2008 one of the first acts of the David Thompson DLP Government was to change the law protecting 265 acres of parkland at Graeme Hall to allow developer friends to profit from these public lands. To make this happen, David Thompson and the DLP Members of Parliament had to set aside laws that had protected the land from development since 1988. When the government was finished, 2/3 of the parkland (175 acres) was gone.

We have just received some satellite maps and a press release from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary that we publish here. Click on the image for a larger view…

Barbados Environment Disaster

Graeme Hall Parkland Loss Map Released

[Bridgetown, BARBADOS]   A land use map depicting the planned loss of parkland at Graeme Hall has been released this week by the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

Titled “Parkland Loss Planned at Graeme Hall,” the new map (www.graemehall.com/press/papers/ThenNowMap1.pdf ) illustrates the Government’s plan to allow residential and commercial development on government-owned Graeme Hall land.

Contrary to the original 1988 National Physical Development Plan (PDP), the new 2003 PDP recommends that parkland at  Graeme Hall be limited to the flood-prone Graeme Hall Swamp, and that all dry land be developed.

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary officials are critical of the land use change, saying that urban development of Graeme Hall would be akin to developing Central Park in New York, and that wetland buffers and recreational opportunities would be permanently destroyed.  Sanctuary officials also cited recommendations from the Urban Land Use Institute quality-of-life recommendation of 25.5 acres of parklands for every 1000 people.

The move to convert the Graeme Hall parklands began after the Sanctuary was acquired by Peter Allard in the 1990’s.   Allard, a retired Canadian attorney and investor, purchased the Sanctuary lands after due diligence examination showed that the 1988 PDP designated the approximately 240-acre green space at Graeme Hall as an environmental, recreational and agricultural buffer for the wetland, and as a green corridor between Oistins and Greater Bridgetown urban areas.

Parliament ratified the land use change in early 2008 despite a petition signed by 6,000 Barbadians to preserve the 240-acre Graeme Hall area as a National Park.

Located at www.graemehall.com/press/papers/ThenNowMap1.pdf, the new map derives its information from Map 20 of the 1988 PDP, and Maps 4 and 6 of the 2003 PDP.  These maps can be located in the “Map” section of www.graemehall.com/reference.htm.

Graeme Hall contains some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in Barbados and is the last major urban green space over 200 acres available as a regional park on the South Coast.

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48 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Tourism, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

48 responses to “Barbados Government Steals 2/3 Of Parkland For Developer Friends – Graeme Hall Environmental Disaster Continues

  1. peltdownman

    Disgraceful!

  2. peltdownman

    We are already experiencing what it is like when there are virtually no tourists. Unfortunately neither our planners nor the politicians really understand why a person chooses to come to Barbados for a holiday. Slowly but surely, we are piling-on the straws to the camel’s back. Development in Road View has destroyed beaches further south. In St Davids, and out in St John, we see good agricultural lands torn up for housing, with plenty of sub divisions already unused and available. Now this. They really, really don’t get it, do they? One day, the visitors will stop coming. It is essential that the dry buffer zone around Graeme Hall is preserved, otherwise Barbadians and visitors alike will be compressed into urban zones and concrete jungles. Go to the beach? What beach?

  3. cq8

    So that is the plan of the Thompson government: nothing but concrete and development between the airport and the city. Look on the map! This was the last bit of green between B’town and Grantley Adams airport.

    Disgraceful is right, peltdownman.

  4. Red Lake Lassie

    The DLP is no better than the BLP. New gang takes over that’s all.

  5. Green Monkey

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t PM Thompson say that he was hoping for overseas philanthropists to invest money in more charitable projects in Barbados? Should this travesty be allowed to proceed, and I was an overseas philanthropist with dollars to spend, I would be sorely tempted to tell any Bajan gov’t representative begging me to spare a few coppers for charitable projects in Barbad0s to take a hike.

  6. Mathilde

    how despicable. i feel so powerless, none of the public seems to have wanted this and yet the Gov.t went right ahead and did it, do we really have NO SAY in any of it?? is that how Democracy works here? do we have to have a revolution to put a stop to it (like as if that would work, as far as I can tell the general trend in politics has always been Replace with Evil of Another Kind)

  7. No good deed goes unpunished

    Upon reading the materials at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website I am convinced that when Mr. Allard decided to spend millions for Barbados, he did so on the basis of the zoning laws and plan that promised long-term protection of the Graeme Hall wetlands.

    How he was fooled! After he invested twenty or thirty million the government changed the “long-term” plan to allow commercial development of this green space.

    That performance is hardly likely to inspire further philanthropists to pour money into Barbados.

    This behavior gets noticed you know!

  8. Liverpool Friend

    My wife and I noticed changes on Barbados since our first visit in 1987. Sadly I think that we have seen our last of the island because it is nothing but traffic and noise compared with our earlier memories. I used to say there is no place like Barbados. Now I say there used to be no place like Barbados. I am sorry that you are covering your island in blacktop.

  9. Hants

    Recession………..

    Seawell Air Services to send home 50 by month end.Peter Thorne
    “So far 17 workers have accepted severance packages and 33 more are set to do so by month end.
    The company has lost the Air Canada and Air Jamaica contracts, two of its most lucrative.”

  10. Jason

    Keep it up and the south coast will soon be as unattractive as the west coast wall of concrete. St. Lucia is much prettier than B’dos and much cheaper too. People are friendlier with tourists on St. Lucia.

  11. Straight talk

    Mrs Knight:

    Can you have a quiet, yet forceful word, as promised?

  12. This is clearly another sad day for the environment. Are these the same people taking us on the so-called “Tourism Environmental Awareness” beach walk tomorrow? They talk the talk but refuse to walk the walk. There is a word for that and is it not good – HYPOCRISY. No wonder the good book warns “…you … make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of GREED and WICKEDNESS.”

    http://shar.es/vSmX

  13. passin thru

    Straighttalk, the Prime Minister will not listen to his mother. She was upset about the rezoning of Graeme Hall and she said on this blog that she would speak to him. Presumably Mrs. Knight did as she promised but there has been no change on the part of David Thompson.

    Why do you continue to have faith in David Thompson and the DLP? The new plan that ensures the destruction of Graeme Hall was the very first piece of legislation put through by the new government in 2008. That says it all.

  14. 787

    Philanthropists should avoid Barbados like the plague. Why would anyone invest in a country where the rules change after you plan and create something.

  15. Green Monkey

    Has PM Thompson has ever come out and openly admitted in public that the problem at the heart of the conflict between the government and GHNS is that the Barbados government is bound and determined to change the land use policy of the surrounding lands and open them up to development?

    To my knowledge he hasn’t, but I could be wrong. So if anyone has information to the contrary please post in this thread and let me know.

    I do know that he has tried in the past to fool the people into believing that the problem that caused the closure of the GHNS is simply that the GHNS people could no longer afford to keep the place running. He then made some superficial offer of some government financing supposedly to enable the operators to keep the sanctuary going.

    However, it is not a lack of funds that is at the heart of the matter. It is that the owner of GHNS has decided (very sensibly) that there is no point in pouring good money after bad in an attempt to keep the sanctuary going while the government of Barbados is, by its actions, bound and determined to kill it, thereby making the many millions of dollars already invested in the project a complete waste of money.

  16. reluctant nonbeliever

    To think I voted for change!

    Red Lake Lassie is right. Just another set of pigs at the trough.

    We desperately need a new political party.

  17. Nonsense

    bajans too late Barbados sell out already

  18. Paul Barnes

    True dat…about 20 years too late, unfortunately…

  19. Margaret Knight

    Straight Talk, I have tried – believe me, I have tried! I was awaiting developments before going off half-cocked and losing my cool, as I so often do! You see, I have been given other sides to the story of Graeme Hall, and right now I am totally confused. At the same time, given the new development as portrayed by both BFP and BU, my heart is very heavy and I shall be asking some questions very soon. I am very unhappy over what I’m reading. That’s all I can say for now.

  20. Margaret Knight

    Uh-oh! Looka ma crosses! Just got a phone call telling me about a comment I didn’t post! The above wording is definitely mine, but it was not submitted from my computer. I had actually sent it to someone to peruse, but they upped and submitted it in my name before reporting back to me. Not to worry – it stands as is. I shall persevere.

  21. 787

    Mrs. Knight,

    As a resident of Barbados (not a born here citizen) I don’t see much of anything “secret” or “other stories” about this situation with Graeme Hall. The best I have been able to come up with is that the government got mad at Mr. Allard for some reason not connected with Graeme Hall and intends to punish him by destroying the wonderful place he built.

    They hate him so much that they are willing to destroy an entire wetlands and take it away from the people of Barbados and the tourists.

    The other plain truth is that this green space is worth big money if developed and no money to certain people if not developed.

    I figure it is one or the other reason or both that the governments (Arthur govt and Thompson govt) are in favour of destroying the Graeme Hall green space by development.

    This business of something dark or unknown stories behind what is going on is nonsense. If there was some good reason for the government changing the rules so Graeme Hall can be developed we would have heard it straight up from the government.

    All I see is myoptic greed and perhaps revenge by big up people who don’t care about the destruction of this precious natural resource.

    Like Jason said, St. Lucia is prettier than Barbados and much friendlier to tourists.

    One thing is certain: St. Lucia can’t be any more hostile to investors and philanthropists than Barbados is.

  22. Once this greenspace is lost it will never be regained.

    Once the dry land is developed, the fertilizer and other runoff will kill much of the life in the swamp.

    This is a terrible legacy that Mr. Thompson has left his children.

  23. Anonymous

    It is very sad. No one is seriously thinking about the long term development of Barbados including the environment.

    The genius of some of our most brilliant people(lawyers, accountants in particular) is combined with our real estate development developments and tax evaders to make millions.

    Too many persons have taken the easy way out to getting rich.

    Can we not do better? These brilliant people need to combine with persons in agriculture, IT Development, manufacturing, and tourism to development and market wholesome products and services that will support the long term development needs of Barbados

    .

  24. RRRicky

    Allard’s situation no different then other investors from away. Dey come to Bridgetown an say “look like a good place. good to invest, nice secure well run place.”

    All de time the guvment people say “AHA here come ‘nother a de fat foreign chicken to pluck!”

    Only trouble is dis Allard not so easy to pluck!

  25. Margaret Knight

    787, you don’t fool me – I recognise your spiteful style. NOWHERE in my post did I mention anything about “secrets”. As to “something dark and unknown stories”, I think you watch too much Harry Potter, or drink too much Canadian whisky. I am deeply concerned over the Graeme Hall issue, not in scoring cheap spiteful points. I will not deal with the likes of you.

  26. blind vengeance

    We elect extremely unsophisticated politicians who instead of crafting win/win situations for the everyone are too busy using their energies in a negative way to punish others at the expense of our future.

    Having watched Obama roll up his sleeves and tackle long term problems having only been in office for less than six months, it is really quite sad to see that our leaders have done absolutely nothing to solve this problem in over 15 years?

    “Forgive them for they know not what they do”

    Our children and our childrens children will pay the price!!!

  27. The Oracle

    Part of what makes great cities like Montreal, New York and Boston work today is that over a hundred years ago the architects had the foresight that big greenspaces were a key factor. So Fredrick Law Olmstead landscaped over 250 acres to create Montreal’s Mount Royal Park, 800 acres in Manhattan to create New York’s Central Park, another 585 acres in Brooklyn to create Prospect Park and 1100 acres in a chain of parks and greenspaces in Boston called the Emerald Necklace. Central Park today attracts 25 million visitors annually, and the city’s myriad other problems notwithstanding, people flock to the Big Apple from all over the world to make it their home. What do these millions know that the Government of Barbados obviously does not – that there is a lot more that sustains and enriches than making money. That we still have nearly 300 acres of greenspace at Graeme Hall in the metropolitan Bridgetown area, some of which still pristine Pre-Columbian wilderness, is a true testament to the spirit of our great forefathers and foremothers. We desecrate that legacy by subdividing Graeme Hall to make a buck. 90 acres is better than nothing, but it is a mere pittance in the larger picture of what could have been Bridgetown’s crowning glory.

  28. passin thru

    Margaret, you alluded to “other sides” of the story surrounding Graeme Hall. 787 calls them “secret” or “unknown stories” but whatever you or 787 call them, I agree that if they were a valid reason for changing the law to enable development at Graeme Hall that we would have heard those “other sides” from government or you or somebody.

    To me it looks like the people of Barbados are being penalised because someone in government hates Allard personally, or as mentioned by many others and BFP, because the land is worth millions in the pockets of various people only if development goes ahead.

    Either way I don’t care why the government made this horrible decision. All I know is that the ordinary people are getting screwed again out of our natural heritage.

  29. 45

    Ur a STUPSE. Barbados is as pretty as St.Lucia. Don’t ever say St.Lucia is prettier than the AlMIGHTY BARBADOS!! No matter how bad Barbados comes. It will ALWAYS be a VERY ATTRACTIVE island. Yes St.Lucia isnt as developed as Barbados, but is definitley not “prettier.” Tuh HELLL WITH U and st.lucia!!!!!!P.S. how can tourist in st.lucia be alot nicer ef dah island got a higher crime rate????

  30. 45

    Like i told Jason, ur A STUPSE. BARBADOS WILL ALWAYS BE A BEAUTIFUL ISLAND. MAYBE IF THE GOV’T ACTUALLY CARED, BARBADOS ENVIRONMENT WOULD NOT BE IN JEPORADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHERE DID THIS TOPIC OF ST. LUCIA EVEN COME FROM ANYWAY?????????????????????

  31. BajanPrince

    I am sorry to hear this. This poor island that I LOVE has been used and abused for years and years. This act of mass construction will NEVER END!!!!!!!! SOON tourist will look to the other islands as places of relaxion. TO HELL with the IGNORANT Barbados government. They can ALL ROT in HELL!!!!!!!! LONG LIVE BARBADOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Paradox

    There is no difference between either party. Once they are in government,they don’t seem able to judge what is best for the country. They seek short term goals,quick foreign investment no regulations as to who can buy land and no limit on the amount of ugly environmentally damaging condominiums to be erected.
    At some time in the future the enormity of what permanent damage has been done to this paradise Island is going to be realised, all too late I am afraid.
    We are ‘suckers’ for punishment.
    Like some comments before, no visitor wants to visit another country to look at concrete, coupled with noise, bad roads,expensive products which can be purchased at a fraction of the price elsewhere, etc.
    Governments are cocooned from reality once in power and we must all join together to keep them on their toes when elected.We must not let up in our efforts for our voices be heard.

    When we have something precious we must fight to keep it. We are fully aware we are not assisted by our media, so we must continue to use every means, including Blogs like this to get our messages across.
    We must bring pressure to bear on elected governments to introduce legislation to ensure projects being pursued must be sustainable; the people, all the people of this country must be heard.

  33. Red Lake Lassie

    We need a lose association of a party of independents with a main platform of reforming election funding and passing integrity and transparency laws. The DLP and the BLP have shown they are unwilling to pass laws like this.

    We don’t need to win to force change. We need to present an option that derails the two traditional parties in Barbados.

  34. Vauxhall

    I agree with your assessment 100%. The east coast is the only worthwhile area left.

  35. Ganong

    Have you ever been to St Lucia? Or been there recently?

  36. First Pics Of The “Tourism Environmental Awareness Sundown Beach”… Wade? – http://shar.es/7Kex – #Barbados #environment

    Save Mullins Bay
    In Solidarity With Graeme Hall

  37. Hants

    Read what the Graeme Hall lawyer Trevor Charmichael said in The Advocate today.

    We still should read the mainstream newspapers.

  38. inaccurate

    “Government and the GHNS are said to be in talks to determine the future of the 35-acre property. The nature park, which is home to the largest remaining mangrove forest on the island and the largest inland water body in Barbados, was closed in part because the owners feared development in the surrounding areas.”

    Sources tell me that there has ben absolutely no discussion for over 6-8 months with Graeme Hall’s representatives.

  39. Hants

    So ask Trevor Charmichael, the lawyer representing Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary ,why he is “optimistic that GHNS will return to its former glory.”

  40. inaccurate

    go ahead Hants ask him

    The phone number for his office is listed .

    then let us all know what real evidence would cause such optimism.

    Normal investigative journalism requires checking 3 or more sources to confirm a story.

    The Advocate did not do its job as usual.

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  43. passin thru

    What happened to the one million dollars the government said it would give to keep the Nature Sanctuary open?

  44. rhubarb

    Don’t forget Vancouver’s Stanley Park!

  45. rhubarb

    It must have been diverted to help Clico!

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