Consultant says approval for new cement bond will soon be sought
Almost three weeks after announcing that a state-of-the-art cement plant would be constructed off the Spring Garden Highway, developers are yet to even submit an application to the Town & Country Planning Department.
Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins confirmed to Barbados TODAY that no one had made an application for any such operation in Barbados.
However, Dwight Sutherland, the business development and operations consultant for Hard Rock Cement Limited which is behind the proposed project, has assured that an application and environmental scoping study for the construction of a multi-million-dollar cement bond and terminal would be submitted by Monday.
In the third week of January, principal spokesman for the project Mark Maloney disclosed to Barbados TODAY that the plant, which would be based at the Flour Mill, was 10 years in the making and would be up and running by April.
When contacted today, he said he would not be making any more comments on the proposed project.
Sutherland, meantime, said he met with the Town & Country Planning Department, the Ministry of Transport & Works (MTW) and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to sensitize those agencies about the company’s intent to establish a bond and terminal.
While acknowledging that he did meet with Sutherland, Cummins insisted that those discussions did not form the basis for any application.
Sutherland later admitted that no paperwork had been submitted to the department and said over-excitement was probably the cause of the company announcing plans before even applying for permission.
“We are at the stage now where we are submitting our plans for the erection of the bond to Town & Country Planning . . . We have been transparent in this whole process. We have met with the EPD and we have also met with MTW with respect to trailers travelling on the Spring Garden Highway,” he said.
“This project is in two phases. The first phase is setting up of a cement bond, which would entail the importation of cement through the Bridgetown Port and then this cement will be stored in a bond once permission is given by Town & Country Planning . . . That will be done within the next two to three months once approval has been granted and that will last for 16 to 18 months until phase two of the project has been built, which is a cement terminal.”
Sutherland, who resigned from his position as operations manager at the Arawak Cement Company in St Lucy in December last year, also responded to concerns that people living near the site would have to contend with dust contamination and other environmental problems.
He explained that no manufacturing would take place at the location.
“The new cement terminal being proposed will see cement being pumped through a closed pipeline into storage silos. From those storage silos, we will package the cement and distribute. There are cement plants in the world that have been built within 200 metres of shopping malls and there is no dust emanating from the plant,” he pointed out.
“A full cement manufacturing plant has quarrying operations, handling of fuel . . . production and cement grinding and you have numerous dust particles from this process. You have . . . all the emissions [such as] carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Nothing such will occur with the cement terminal.”
Sutherland said the company, which he joined last month, intended to adhere to all local and international environmental standards, and the submission of the scoping study was the first step towards submitting an environmental impact study to address the concerns of residents and businesses in the surrounding communities.
Sutherland sought to address some of the concerns at a meeting yesterday with residents of districts surrounding the site of the proposed plant.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, the chief town planner rejected suggestions that the meeting was organized by his department.
When contacted, head of Hard Rock Cement Mark Maloney said he was not making any more comments on the planned project.