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Coast clear

With a view like this, Folkestone Marine Park could once again become the popular spot it once was before erosion reduced most of the beach.

Coastal Zone Management Unit came in for high praise from the Inter-American Development Bank, as a $10 million loan from that institution is set to start major works on the west coast in a matter of weeks.

Natural Disaster and Risk Management Lead Specialist with the IDB, Cassandra Rogers, told other bank colleagues on a visit of some of the institution’s major projects in the island that the CZMU had done impressive work with the monies provided. The relationship between the institution and the Government agency, she said, stretched back some 30 years.

She was speaking as a tour that took in works involved in the Education Sector Enhancement Programme, Bowmanston water station and Coastal’s Folkestone and the Hastings Boardwalk projects, paused on the west coast for an assessment of upcoming works there.

Rogers noted it was the Bank that did the first study to identify the main causes of coastal erosion and the applicable approaches, after which it supplied the support to establish the CZMU.

“It has been a really outstanding experience working with the Government of Barbados on this because the general thinking on both sides was that whatever we do must be based on the science, the science must inform the engineering, the work that has to be done must be state-of-the art and innovative, and this has been the common thread over the 30 years of collaboration and I am sure my colleagues would agree with me.

“You see them here today but it is a recognised fact that the Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit is a regional best practice model in terms of the kinds of work that has come out of them, in terms of the competence of the staff etcetera and this kind of project that is being described here today is the fifth intervention of the Bank.”

Among the two biggest coastal projects funded by the Bank are the south coast boardwalk, and the construction of a similar walkway on the west coast stretching from Heron Bay to Holetown. That latter work is hoped to get underway in a matter of weeks.

That project will involve the recreation of a beach at Folkestone, along with a walkway and the placement of granite boulders to help preserve the work done from erosion which is currently that west coast area’s biggest challenge.

Acting Director of the CZMU, Dr. Lorna Inniss said the IDB directors who were here participating in the just-concluded FOROMIC conference spent the day examining a number of projects including those of coastal.

“The project here at Holetown is almost a continuation of one that we have done already under the Coastal Infrastructure Programme to the south of us and this area is an area of very high vulnerability. We have some serious challenges in terms of our buffer zones. We tend to talk about the coral reefs as our buffers to coastal hazards and coral reefs, not just in Barbados, but all over the world are degrading and therefore they are losing their ability to offer eco-system services to countries as they would have done before.” She said with erosion issues, sea level rise and the narrowing of beaches, the Holetown project was timely and intended to stabilise the shoreline and provide access along the coast for beach users.

Project Manager, Antonio Rowe added that the project would involve varying coastal structures including break waters, groins, beach nourishment, and a concrete walkway at Folkestone.

“It has benefited from state of the art coastal techniques such as physical modelling, numerical modelling, and such like and it is approximately 1.5km of shoreline. The two points are the villas to the south and Heron Bay to the north.” (LB)

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