Barbados continues blocking off the coast

New Marina progresses. High Rise flats coming. That’s progress, right?

The construction of the new marina continues (above) and by the looks of things you’ll soon have to have a boat to see any of the coast at all. Meanwhile, Minister of Housing Michael Lashley yesterday announced our first high rise housing development.

I don’t view the high rise mansion blocks as a bad thing – depending upon how it is done and where. That has to happen because Barbados has about the 15th highest population density in the world – although compared to places like Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong, we’re almost uninhabited. If done properly, high rise housing could reduce the pressure on our agricultural and natural areas and reduce the price of housing. If done properly that is.


What doesn’t have to happen though is the willy-nilly approach to building and development that has characterized Barbados for the last twenty years. There was a time for a few decades after independence when our elected representatives put aside some green space and made sure that sea access wasn’t blocked. Then they started selling off the choice bits of green space to developer friends and allowed “exceptions” to the rules until you can’t get to the sea in many spots and if you can you have to park a mile away. That’s if there is a place to park at all.

For the last twenty years the only “solution” to transportation on the island has been more cars on more roads. “Public” transportation that is defined as more buses and more ZRs becomes part of the problem, not part of the solution.

"Protected" area in red now approved for development by friends of Government

Our promised “National Parks” at Scotland and Graeme Hall are jokes. The last BLP government wanted to put a major dump in Scotland, and this DLP government reclassified the majority of lands surrounding the Graeme Hall wetlands from protected agricultural to “anything goes, let’s make some money and build industrial units.” So much for Graeme Hall National Park.

As we watch the “progress” at the new marina, I have to wonder about the definition of “progress”. What will our great grandchildren will think of us when they compare what we could have done, with the country that we left them?

Marina construction photos courtesy of Anthony Husbands (more here)

(Story Idea: Give thanks and a bottle of Mount Gay dark to the Prince of Barbados!)


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Environment, Wildlife

29 responses to “Barbados continues blocking off the coast

  1. The man wiv no name!!

    i kud never onstan dis aversion which Bajees had to building high in Bim for such a long time. it’s good to see that, at last, they’re entering the 21st century albeit, several decades late, unsurprisingly! one day, Bajees will realise dat d islan wun sink if day really bill a tall skyscraper pun it! only dat, for once, people might actually have somewhere tuh live an accomodate their businesses but, i wun hole my breath!!

  2. stephen

    High rise apartments breed trouble. Look almost anywhere in the world and you’ll see that populations tend to put their more troubled people in those apartments. They become no-go areas. We must ensure we don’t let these high rise apartments fall into the same situation. The lower paid and the unemployed tend to end up living there. Lower cost housing. They need money so crime turns up. Don’t like to suggest it, but it’s a fact of life. Government needs to be strong about this, in advance. Many will disagree and say this is stereotyping, but that’s why the word exists. Hope they can see the sea from the top floor.

  3. PLEASE help us..

    I have 100,000 Bajans to give away -get them off my island.
    Any takers?? -anyone?

  4. michele

    Whatever happened to “no buildings taller than a palm tree”????Why does such a beautiful island need high-rises?Yes,Barbados boasts a very high level of literacy & education,so why lower its standards by embracing the very thing that is destroying “the western world”?I have seen so many follies in the past 25yrs,why not leave well-enough alone,or at the very least,develop in a more “educated”way,with a PLAN!As for all those unecessary vehicules(huge Suv’s,Limos etc-macho posturing!)why not do as Bermuda=1family-1car.Would that not alleviate the traffic situation and help with the health status of Barbadians breathing in lungfuls of that black soot staining not only the sides of homes?

  5. The man wiv no name!!

    Bim is too small an island to keep building-out! it’s inevitable that we’ll have to house people in high-rise sooner or later. better still, TEACH, indeed, COMPEL PEOPLE TO BEHAVE THEMSELVES. it’s called a decent and sensible upbringing and schooling and would benefit us in all manner of our lives in this country and elsewhere!!

  6. Jack Bowman

    BFP folks,

    In this piece your insistence on “if it’s done properly” is the crucial point, and you’re surely right to repeat it. And stephen’s various points, though they might sound undiplomatic, are also entirely legitimate and have to be taken into account.

    Since the 1960s, the experience of the US and the UK has been that you don’t always make people happy if you stack them on top of each other. That might be particularly the case in Barbados, where even the humblest homes are often set apart from the neighbors and have some little patch of land where you can make something grow (or put your 1997 Toyota up on blocks).

    Like the folks in Detroit or Manchester in the sixties, Bajans are used to horizontal neighborhoods and a shift to vertical neighborhoods can take some serious adjustment.

    It didn’t work in the UK, at least. All those utopian urban planners of the sixties, envisaging futuristic “neighborhoods in the sky”, were engaged in an experiment of social engineering that utterly failed. By the 1980s, huge numbers of those high-rises were being torn down at monumental expense to be replaced by modernized versions of the houses they’d supplanted two decades earlier.

    That said, two other points …

    First, of course, Barbados isn’t the US or the UK. A tiny island with a growing population that has to safeguard its natural beauty and its agricultural land is going to have to find *some* means of meeting its housing needs. And the multi-storey option has to be considered in that regard.

    Second, in continental European cities where people had lived in apartments for generations (I once lived in a modest fifth-floor flat in Rome, in a building that dated from 1888), the 1960s problems of stacking people on top of each other didn’t become as acute as in the US or the UK. It doesn’t *have* to go wrong.

    The main thing, as you rightly say, is that it’s done “properly”. I just don’t know how you go about doing it properly, but then I’m not paid to think about this stuff. I can only hope that the Bajans who are paid to think about this stuff are thinking well.

  7. 79

    @ Jack Bowman. Points well taken. This can be done responsibly without eroding National landmarks, Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary or blocking the sea coast. The think tankers do have some work left to do. If this is done responsibly, Barbadians and Barbados in general will benefit economically from this new building boom which will create employment for hundreds.
    Progress, responsible development and housing are important elements in the economic growth of any country and Barbados snugly fits the package. We can all see the need. There has never been a time when there was enough housing. The ambition to own your own home or part there of eats away at thousands of us. Low cost housing, growth and prosperity would be good for Barbados.
    No human ideal is ever perfectly attained. No government or developers projects are always readily accepted. Similarities and differences in opinion evokes great discussions. Lets do this right fot the good of Barbados.

  8. tstt

    But it is the people in those apartments who make or break the apartments isn’t? Just building high rise apartments doesn’t automatically conote bad behaved, rowdy or dangerous tenants.

  9. ac

    with the high cost of energy all Barbados needs is more elevated buildings to stop the sea breeze from cooling the land.

  10. The man wiv no name!!

    ‘ac’, i think it’s more important for the people to have somewhere to live in the first place.

    Jack, you’re right on many points. However, there are still very many residential, skyscrapers in the UK, as you must know and I don’t hear too many complaints about them being uninhabitable. One solution might be to privatise them in some way. I never hear people in private, high-rise blocks complaining.

  11. ac

    It is important for people to have a place to live,
    But must it have to do with obstructing nature from doing its job. In the long ran the high cost of maintaining these buildings would force an individual back on the street. Not alone the energy cost to everyone living in the country. A very high price to pay.

  12. Prince of Barbados

    These pictures are complete EYESORES!!!! As they continue to cut down trees and pillage pristine lands, my heart breaks! Will this destruction ever cease? Will the beauty of Barbados ever prevail? We MUST become STRICT guardians of our Beautiful Island!!!

    Prince of Barbados

    Preserve We Paradise
    Protect We Island
    Save We Barbados

  13. ac

    those gigantuous concrete eyesores does nothing for the enviroment. Only put money in the greedy realestate industry. it doesnt help those who are poor because of the absorbent fees necessary to maintain. Owning a home is one thing but being able to afford one is another. Yeah the same old rheortic Jobs ! JOBS! but who really get the contracts and who really get the jobs . Most of the time the developers and crew are brought in from overseas who are the winners. While the locals get a handful of the jobs if any .

  14. JCP

    If you’re going to build high rise it should actually be a luxary development. If you put poor people in there you creating a ghetto. With some many people with no opportunity and low expectation of good life you create a powder keg waiting for gang activity…. If putting up highrise you need enough places in that development to channel young people’s energy. basketball courts, tennis courts, computer labs, libraries, speciality arts facilities. (e.g. steelpan mas camps, drama / performance arts facilities, or something else for people to channel their creative energy.)

  15. JCP

    @PLEASE help us…. If you can get me very nice (legalised) accommodation in Bermuda, Cayman Island, St. Maarten, Aruba, or Saba I’ll gladly go. 😀

  16. JCP

    I’ve always wondered something. If we recreated our same economy in Guyana could we not essentially turn around Guyana’s situation? Esp. since Guyana has room for-so???

    That is, except for the fact that Venezuela has gone back claiming that 50% of Guyana belongs to them and they want the international community to agree with them regaining control of it….

    In Spanish.

    English translation (courtesy Google).

  17. The man wiv no name!!

    ‘ac’, a possible solution would be for Bajans to stop breeding quite so effusively but, I can’t see that happening, can you? And so, these are the consequences! if duh could only learn to use contraception but yuh might as well talk to the lampost!

  18. HM

    Keep on destroying the island, why don’t you? Concrete the whole place over. Get rid of all access to the beaches and all sea views – unless you’ve got the $ to pay.

  19. HM

    Sky scrapers tend to look good…….from a distance. Most end up looking like monstrosities after only a few years. The trouble is, once they have been built, they are not easy to get rid of.

  20. ac

    Earthquakes can easily get rid of them. Then the job of cleaning up runs in the millions. !Didn’t Barbados experience a couple of shake! rattle ! and roll !

  21. ac

    Bajan women should stop breeding so easily!

    Answer: Howabout castration for the men that breed them. Starting with you as Exhibit “A”

  22. The man wiv no name!!

    ‘ac’, that would leave very many Bajan women feeling very frustrated and wouldn’t b fair to them!

  23. ac

    @Wiv . NM
    Life is not fair but it would only be fair in this case to castrate youand believe me all Bjan women would be happy!

  24. HM

    @ ac.
    You do have a point there…

  25. HM

    regarding earthquakes

  26. High Rise Problems

    High Rise Flats require good fire protection, if not built to good building codes high rise flats are death traps in fire..

  27. maat

    Having spent some time in high rises in London, the first thing you notice is the smell of the communal areas. This common space (stairwells) are sometimes used as toilets or litter areas, no one sees them as theirs to keep clean. Noise also can be an issue and congregation of youth for some reason.

    Just pointing out some things to look out for. In my limited experience people do not enjoy living like rabbits in hutches on top of each other. I doubt rabbits like living like that!


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