Is this the next Private Beach in Barbados?

Barbados Beach Private

Barbados news media fails to give date, time of upcoming public meeting

The largest hotel resort ever seen on this island is coming, but no detailed plans, standards or environmental studies are being made available for inspection by Barbados citizens.

Apparently there will be some sort of perfunctory meeting next week where the environmental assessment might be presented, but like all of these meeting where “public discussion” is to take place, the public is not allowed to have access to the report before the meeting. You see friends, it just won’t do to have people study the materials beforehand so they can as informed questions. That would encourage real discussion and we can’t have that.

Apparently the developers have the same problem as the public though: the government hasn’t released the environmental study to them either – according to a CBC article “Billion Dollar Resort”

The developer’s website also says this:

“Several Environmental Impact Analysis projects are currently in progress to facilitate our application for planning approval. We already have the report
and recommendations from a 3 month coastal study and proposal for creating a breakwater for the beach at Palmetto Bay to make a safe area for bathing.
We expect to receive full planning permission by the end of 2008 and to complete the resort by Christmas 2012.” … from Harlequin Properties’ The Merricks website.

We have a few questions…

How is public access to the beach being maintained?

Where will the public park their vehicles?

HOW FAR is public parking from the beach?  How far? You mek sport!

From CBC’s Billion Dollar Resort …

Plans are well on stream for what is being described as the largest hotel resort in Barbados. The project has been in the works for some time but is now nearer to reality. The new billion dollar resort is to be built on 70 acres of oceanfront land in the area around Peat Bay.

The United Kingdom based developers, Harlequin Property, say it will comprise nearly one thousand hotel rooms including suites, apartments, custom homes and cabanas….

… The developers were asked by the Town Planning Department to complete an environmental and social impact assessment and that report is to be discussed during a town hall meeting at the nearby Baileys Primary School next week… (read the full article at the CBC)

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39 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment, Offshore Investments, Politics

39 responses to “Is this the next Private Beach in Barbados?

  1. Sundowner

    This has been discussed before on BFP see ‘Scorched Earth at Merricks’ May 5th 2008

  2. Nostradamus

    If an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment has been done why has it not been placed in the public domain for study as is requierd by law? Or maybe I missed the notice.

    Anyone know the date, time and place of the Town Hall Meeting?

  3. Hants

    Hope they build a really good sewerage treatment and desalination plant.

  4. Sundowner

    Just called a friend who lives up that way, said he’s heard nothing!

  5. reality check

    of course he has heard nothing—more of the same.

    don’t forget that all these citizens who count for nothing
    have a vote next election and will count for something.

  6. John Da Silva

    How many Bajans actually use this beach today?

    *********************

    BFP says,

    Not the point. Doesn’t matter at all. The law is what matters. If you want to change the law, then do so properly. Otherwise obey it.

  7. permres

    I live in the area. A flyer has been placed in our letter box last week. It tells:

    Public Meeting Tuesday, 6th October, 7.30pm at Bayley’s Primary School.

    The meeting is a requirement of the Town Planning Department.

    The report can be viewed at:

    TPA Garrison St Michael
    Bayley’s Primary School
    Six Roads Library

    from Tuesday 8th September to Tuesday October 6th. 2009.

  8. permres

    Town Planning Department, the Garrison, not TPA sorry!

    We have always thought this beach was called Palmetto Beach. The clifftop is popular with walkers, visitors and locals, all the way through from Sam Lord’s to Ragged Point lighthouse. This needs to be preserved. Public parking also needs to be provided, as well as access, of course!

    Perhaps I ought to go to the meeting.

  9. Hants

    This looks like a dangerous area to swim in the sea so there must be lots of swimming pools in the plans.

  10. permres

    Apologies again! I just checked Google maps and they show Palmetto Bay as being further out, towards Ragged Point.

    The whole clifftop along there is fantastic, and I see that nonsense over the bay near the lighthouse with one of the Mannings, was it?, has now disappeared. All his fences are down, and no dogs!!This is all we need to do, get out there, at this meeting for instance, and make a lot of noise.

  11. St George's Dragon

    Anyone thinking of investing in this development, or concerned about it happening, should read this article from Investor’s Chronicle:

    http://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/Features/Property/article/20090828/0ae3459c-92ea-11de-9aae-0015171400aa/The-risks-of-getting-burnt-abroad.jsp

    Harlequin, the developer at Merricks, has a project which is meant to be under construction at Buccament Bay in St Vincent. The last thing I heard about it was that construction had stopped. That was about a year ago.

    People’s observations on Harlequin and Buccament Bay are covered here:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147379-i1174-k2263761-Harlequin_Property_Buccament_A_place_in_the_sun-St_Vincent_and_the_Grenadines.html

    It is also worth looking at this, which describes Harlequin’s terms and conditions:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147379-i1174-k3090227-l20982007-Prospective_buyers_Buccament_on_the_Bay-St_Vincent_and_the_Grenadines.html#20982007

    Lastly, search for “Harlequin” on http://www.singingpig.co.uk, which is a UK investment website. Read a few of the returned comments to get the overall flavour of feeling.

    Is this the sort of company we want developing in Barbados?

  12. Sundowner

    When I contacted the developers last year they said there would be ‘public’ access for the locals, (bit like going through the main entrance at The Crane no doubt, but then you can get to Crane Beach from the other end), the access to the beach is steep steps/slabs, which of course will be torn down & rebuilt. The beach itself is lovely, photographers paradise, its not very big, used by turtles more than people.
    The people in the development behind will have no sea view at all if this goes ahead, (but what do they matter, they’re just locals!) that looks like an old photo to me, you have all the Atlantic Rising development & many new houses in front of that which are not shown in this shot.

  13. permres

    And the public access to Sam Lord’s in its heyday was hidden and overgrown to the right of the BNB by the taxi stand. However, at least there was quite good parking there.

    The Crane public parking is in that awful lane which goes down to the beach, but we seem to manage.

    Oh dear Barbados Government, are you really supporting our public beaches, and encouraging tourists with their hired cars?

  14. Dan

    Agree with St. George’s Dragon. The controversy over Buccament Bay in SVG is instructive. But keep in mind that to date Harlequin has never completed a property in the Caribbean. Hopefully this will never be completed, either.

  15. victor

    Just today had a conversation from someone in Iondon who said to me “but sureIy, Barbados is the onIy pIace in the Caribean stiII free from corruption”. Dream on and watch this pIeasant isIe turn into a pit.

  16. Nostradamus

    @permres

    Do you know the location, date and time of the meeting?

  17. East Point

    Nostradamus, Permres quoted”Public Meeting Tuesday, 6th October, 7.30pm at Bayley’s Primary School”. That says it all.

  18. yatinkiteasy

    Harlequin`s website a few years ago was touting the fact that a “Major 5 Star Resort Chain” would be operating there, but they never named the company…because it was a lie. They are now saying that they are developing their own Harlequin Branded 5 star Hotel..wonder why?
    Anyone who puts money into this project is a fool….but there are many fools out there.
    Their website also stated that they have their OWN PRIVATE BEACH….GOT THAT? PRIVATE BEACH!

  19. permres

    yatinkiteasy, I just browsed their website and saw no mention of a private beach. They did, however, call the beach Palmetto Bay, so confusion reigns, it seems to me! A public clifftop walk would solve all problems, I think, no matter which beach they are hoping to make private. Hope to see you all at the meeting at Bayley’s Primary School, 7.30p.m. Tuesday 6th October.

  20. Archie Tek

    a lot of money at risk here. Yes jobs in construction, very good, and foreign money coming in. But risky it is, as anyone who lives on the east coast would agree. The main problem..salt rain and wind all coming into the lovely open bedrooms, living rooms and galleries. The beauty of designing on the west coast is that the view is to the west with amazing sunsets across glittering sea, and big open galleries facing west, so when it rains and blows you don’t need to run around closing the doors. All Bajans know that 95% of the weather comes in from the east. In this development the architects (if that is what they are) have designed a west coast project and plonked it on the east coast. The maintenance will be crippling. Apart from rusting light fittings, computers, ac equipment, fridges, etc, the building itself will cost at least 20% more than west coast construction in order to avoid brown rust stains everywhere and the eventual demise of the reinforcement in the concrete. In addition to all this when it does rain or gets too windy closing the (sliding glass) doors will block all natural ventilation and force the occupant to use air conditioning. 20 years from now, if the project fails due to lack of maintenance funds it will fall quickly into disrepair and eventually become a massive environmental disaster both visually and physically. Look around for yourselves. Look at Ginger Bay, check all the local construction, ask the residents. Bds 3.5 million dollars for a plantation style bungalow. With a budget like that I could do a lot better almost anywhere else in Barbados. Just think, those Brits who fall for this one will be sitting on their windy sticky veranda with drink in hand while the sun sets behind the bungalow…not my idea of tropical bliss

  21. permres

    Archie Tek, a very entertaining read, and all true! Browsing the stuff about Harlequin makes me think they are financial cowboys out to make a quick buck, and to hell with the environment 20 years down the line.

    Prospective buyers, look elsewhere, or spend your money on your own little place on the East Coast, and make sure you have enough left over to maintain it, if you prefer this more weather-exposed living.

  22. Nostradamus

    From the Harlequin website

    http://www.harlequinproperty.co.uk/news.php

    Dave Ames of Harlequin Property meets Prime Minister of Barbados

    On Friday 19th June I had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson, where we were discussing the Merricks’ project. He assure me of his full support of his Government and country in ensuring the success of the resort and is assisting us in moving the project forward so that we can start building the resort as soon as possible.

    I impressed to him the fact that we are looking to begin building the resort later this year and he confirmed that he will do everything possible to enable us to start work on site. It is our intention to open the resort in stages from 2011.

    Members of the Government of Barbados will be attending the launch on 13th and 14th July, which hopefully shows the commitment the Government and the country are giving to Harlequin and the Merricks project.

  23. permres

    An impressive website, Nostradamus, and impressive credentials. I truely hope that all these big-ups cited are bona-fide parliamentarians, developers and investors, but greed and corruption stalks high places, and I cite Alan Stanton for potential buyers to beware.

    It made me think that perhaps a parallel could be drawn between the accomodation proposed at Merricks, and luxury ocean-going yachts. Those people with that sort of money must know how to maintain their boats, I guess? Has Harlequin drawn such a parallel, and provided adequate maintainance provision accordingly?

    I do not have the competence to research this idea myself, but I wonder if anyone reading here has such knowledge and experience?

  24. permres

    Sorry, Sir Allen Stanford, and “truly” not “truely”!!

  25. Sundowner

    I would like to see the results of the quote from their website below re environmental studies, breakwaters? I wouldn’t have thought they’d last 5 mins there, I can’t believe another piece of incredible coastline is going to be destroyed. I hope we get some reports on here from people who have gone to tonight’s meeting.

    “Several Environmental Impact Analysis projects are currently in progress to facilitate our application for planning approval. We already have the report and recommendations from a 3 month coastal study and proposal for creating a breakwater for the beach at Palmetto Bay to make a safe area for bathing.”

  26. Straight talk

    Tinkering with Palmetto will adversely affect the staggering beauty of Bottom Bay and Crane N & S. we can only hope the CMZU have done their assessments correctly and the natural beauty of our East Coast is preserved.

    I don’t think Doyle will be too pleased about messing with the Crane Beach but who knows what will happen given the power play involving him and Sam Lord’s situation?

  27. permres

    I went to the early part of the meeting. The groyne and the clifftop boardwalk have both been shelved (permanently?) for environment reasons, they said.

    Water usage was a real problem, a de-salination plant should be included, locals said, as per Sandy Lane and the Hilton.

    60metres of clifftop would remain undeveloped and open to the public. Security for their development was not discussed whilst I was there, but Harlequin said that fishermen using the clifftop would not be harassed. However, they did not say what security would be in place, apart from a wall on the land side. Harlequin liked the idea of giving guests a contact with the locals!

    Public car parking for Palmetto Bay ( that is the one in their picture) would be provided.

  28. yatinkiteasy

    permres…sorry I misquoted the website..In several instances they state :”ideally located with its own beach and cliff top location” ideally located with its own secluded beach and cliff top”..they avoided the use of the word “private”, but the meaning is quite clear to me….”own” means “private”…does it not?

  29. permres

    Advertisements are notoriously misleading, yatinkiteasy, part of the art of advertising, I guess. But I agree, we need to be vigilant and point out such attempted deception.

    My reservations about last night’s meeting are that it all sounded very up-front but its still at the paper stage. When the bulldozers move in, and access to the beach is no longer available, and the clifftop public space is reduced to a 2 metre width instead of their promised 50 to 60m with their development shut off behind constructor’s security boarding, who here in Barbados is going to protest, with demonstrations, and lie down in their path?

  30. Hants

    That beach is a great spot for fishing. Nuff grunts,porgies and cavallys.

  31. Len White

    Until Barbadians take seriously the continued erosion of the increasingly laughable notion that all beaches are public, this is what will continue to happen. It boggles the mind that a people who can be so vociferous on call-in programs can sit idly by, as one after one, windows to the sea and the attendant joy which they bring are lost. There needs to be an organized and unrelenting campaign to take back the beaches of Barbados for all. If the stated policy of all beaches being public is to mean something it must be seen as such, not only in words, but in fact. Furthermore, any attempts to turn access into an exercise in futility should result in prosecution, with the proviso that any repeat of the same would trigger the use of eminent domain to ensure access. While there is no doubt that tourism is vital to our progress as a nation, we cannot and must not permit developers, no matter how needed, to deprive Barbadians of access to our national commons. Gentrification in the name of development cannot and should not be tolerated.

  32. Hants

    @Len White

    The GOB needs to request Town Planning to locate and designate Beach access in Barbados.

    There should be an 8ft 0r 10ft walkway to the Beach between Beach front properties.

    Surely this can be legislated but expect a fight because the Rich an Famous doan wan no lotta “locals” roun dem unless duh wukkin fuh dem.

  33. Len White

    I understand the role of government as far as legislation goes, but what I don’t fathom is the seemingly casual attitude which the general public is taking toward the issue. The rich and famous did not build Barbados into the nation it is today, and they should not be allowed to rob Barbadians of this God-given gift. Given the value of tourism to our economic well-being, we should provide a first class environment for tourists and make them feel welcome, but not at the expense of our birthright. If we allow this to continue, like Esau, we will be left to wonder at our folly as others walk away with our blessing.

  34. permres

    Too true, Len White, I might relate the phenomena we see to what is called low level disturbance in a classroom. Apparently nothing really terribly criminal, but disruptive and nasty all the same. Around the countryside we see garbage illegally dumped, drain blockage roadside waste piled by government cleaners but never collected, stray dogs, rusting galvanize on tumbledown sheds and fences which will be very dangerous in a hurricane, all leading to a general lack of interest and concern for our environment.

    Not that it only occurs in Barbados of course. Walking the hills of Wales in the UK, we come across all of these things done by the locals, not the uncollected piles on roadsides, however. The difference is that Barbados is so small we notice it more.

    There are some tremendous initiatives from the top, and voluntary environmental cadres. But educating the general public seems to be in another dimension.

  35. victor

    Archie, right on every count about East Coast environment impact on architecture, etc. makes a change from us impacting on the environment! I Iaugh when you mention shutting the sIiding doors. If you even CAN push them, due to saIt buiId up! Yet East Coast is great at 6 a.m. to see the sunrise turning the night sky to navy as the Iast stars fade, then red goId yeIIow sun, wavering up above the horizon and then the bIue, seeing the skudding cIouds opening, meIting away as you hear the waves crashing, their white tops announcing that day breaks, with the fresh morning sea air bIowing you awake as the bIackbirds start charging around, with their shriII cries. What a great way to start the working day, I smeII breakfast! Coffee, eggs and bacon on the gaIIery before a shower and it is stiII not even 7. BIackbirds just adore toast. None of this wouId appIy to most in a condo on this deveIopment as they probabIy can’t even see the ocean from the back, it’s a no brainer. Anyone who hopes for a West Coast type experience won’t be happy in this set- up.

  36. victor

    Archie, I forgot to mention, have you ever seen the abandoned hoteI at Nrth Point? Huge compIex, gorgeous though tiny beach with difficuIt access down a steep path. It had an oIympic sized pooI, once beautifuI grounds and had been very popuIar and gIamorous, with dinners and dancing every night, it reminded me of what the resort in the movie Dirty Dancing must have been Iike once. There were hoteI rooms as weII as smart individuaI cabanas but when I went you couId onIy hear the wind whistIing in the abandoned avenues of trees, see straggIed washing Iines and smeII fires from the squatters Iiving there and the fabuIous pooI was cracked and empty, apart from Iitter. Cats roamed around the dried-out Iawns.

  37. cosmic

    Archie tek and Permres
    Why do you think that the resort in question will be more likely to suffer from the weather than, say, The Crane, which seems to be a fairly good resort with good year round occupancy and providing hundreds of valuable jobs for the local community.

  38. Steve

    Firstly can i say that i have invested in the Merricks & i am not rich or famous it has been very interesting reading everyone’s threads can i say that it would not put me off investing if the beach wasn’t private i have visited Barbados on a number of occasions & keep returning not for your beaches but for the friendlyness of it’s people & the enjoyment we all ways have. I visited the site in Dec 2009 & thought that the beach in question was a bit of a assult course to get down to so i think any one who was investing just for the beach
    will be very few if any. I just wanted to let you all know not all the people who invest in these projects are not doing so just for capital gains but to enjoy the barbadian life style a few weeks a year.
    I hope we could all enjoy a cold bank’s watching the sunset on the beach together.

  39. yatinkiteasy

    Anyone know the status of the Merricks Resort? Looks like nothing is going on out there. Harlequin Properties seems to be a very strange outfit. Even their St Vincent Buccament Bay that was “opened” in August is a far cry from what they advertised.(They still only have artist drawings on their website, no photos)

    Try to book a room at the “5 star” resort….expedia, travelocity, etc say nothing available, OCT, NOV 2010. Strange for a new resort that hardly anyone knows of.

    Even more strange are the glowing reports on Trip Advisor from people that have stayed there in August 2010 …I have to believe they were paid by, or work for Harlequin…or, that they received a free vacation in exchange for a great Trip Advisor review.Its a very clever way to spend advertising/promotion money, even though it is deceptive , to say the least.