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Lowe point

Minister concerned about beach erosion

Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe said today it could easily cost Government upwards of $10 million to carry out recovery and rehabilitation work on several of this island’s popular beaches, where there is worrying evidence of erosion.

(From left) Project Manager of the Project Coordinating Unit, Sewerage and Solid Waste Ricardo Marshall, Director of the Drainage Division Jason Bowen, Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe and Acting Director of Coastal Zone in the Ministry of the Environment Antonio Rowe examining a plan as they tour Crane Beach.

(From left) Project Manager of the Project Coordinating Unit, Sewerage and Solid Waste Ricardo Marshall, Director of the Drainage Division Jason Bowen, Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe and Acting Director of Coastal Zone in the Ministry of the Environment Antonio Rowe examining a plan as they tour Crane Beach.

Following a tour of the beaches, Lowe told reporters he was both concerned and surprised about the extent of the problem.

“I am surprised at what I saw today,” said Lowe.

“I must tell you the truth, I didn’t realize the extent to what was happening. And I feel it’s important for the country to appreciate what is going on and what will be required to respond to these climate [change] impacts,” the minister said.

Today’s tour, which also involved several other Government officials, was for a first-hand assessment of the impact of climate change on the island with a view to arriving at solutions.

It is also in keeping with the mandate given to countries at last November’s talks at which the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted by 195 nations, including Barbados.

As part of that agreement, the island’s response to climate change will be continuously reviewed over the next five years by the United Nations.

After visiting several south coast beaches, including the Crane Beach, Foul Bay Beach and Silver Sands, Lowe said he was “really concerned” about the level of beach erosion and the possible impact on the island’s tourism.

“Some of our tourism assets are hanging precariously on these ridges and you would observe that the erosion is aggressive and certainly the Government will need to act quickly to avoid some of the catastrophe that could occur as a result of the erosion,” he said.

The Minister of the Environment also acknowledged that uncontrolled beach erosion threatened other areas, including the livelihood of fisherfolk.

“The situation with the Crane Beach is very serious because it has the capacity to impact negatively on our tourism product. Two, it has the capacity to impact some of our residents. Three, it has the capacity to impact on access to the beach . . . and with what we are seeing there is evidence that our reefs system may be at risk. Certainly there is enough evidence to show that our citizens settling in those areas are at risk,” the minister stressed.

“What is concerning to me is what it will cost to correct some of those issues and how will the cost be borne. I know that the United Nations systems have established a number of funds that we could tap into, notwithstanding the hurdles that you have to go through from time to time to access them, but the truth is that it is costing more to borrow money and the global economic climate is not friendly to that at this time,” he said.

With Barbados currently trying to “creep out” of a global recession, he was also concerned that, “the more we may need to borrow to fix some of these problems, the more strain it is going to put on our recovery programme. Therefore, it means that what we can do early we have to do”.

Lowe said officials from the relevant departments in his ministry would be “sitting down” and coming up with a five to ten-year programme to address the issue. This would include continued beach rehabilitation involving an extension of the south coast boardwalk.

The programme will also employ a range of mechanisms such as beach nourishment and the building of an artificial reef at Crane Beach.

He explained that his ministry had compiled a number of projects that were to be submitted to Cabinet “very shortly”, adding that some funding should come from the Green Climate Fund.

Acknowledging that a lot of the island’s reef systems were “in trouble” and therefore the beach and shorelines were also “in trouble” especially on the west coast and St Philip area, Lowe said they would be given priority.

He noted that some private sector officials had already expressed an interest in working with Government to help fund some projects, while stating that the Coastal Zone Management United would have to “step up” with some more aggressive response programmes.

Ahead of another tour on Wednesday of beaches along the east and north coasts of the island, the minister also expressed concern about residential and commercial structures, which he said were being erected along the island’s coastline without the approval of the Town & Country Planning Department. He warned that if not addressed, “there could be some devastating consequences”.

3 Responses to Lowe point

  1. Samud Ali
    Samud Ali February 9, 2016 at 5:35 am

    ????? Didn’t realise???

  2. Tony Webster February 9, 2016 at 6:34 am

    O.T.L. for sure! Apparently, a C.B.C. crew ….has little to do…and it’s another dry-day in the newsroom. Perhaps we should all be writing down such words of wisdom…like the guys surrounding Kim-what-his-name.

    As we are in danger of “creeping out of this recession”…perhaps in your mercy Lord…you cud send us some people who are competent to actually DO something other than run-up more loans in US$?

  3. jrsmith February 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Here we go again, another politician, who is surprise with he saw, the erosion of Barbados coast line. This means he has never paid visits to our coastal areas.. the excuse , climate change, this is nothing to do with climate change.. this is total neglect of the infrastructure, which includes, the coast line…neglected by government after government.. conservation and preservation seems to be very hard for politicians to understand, be they cant find enough excuses to put in place, because these are two things most people would understand…

    Climate change, what part did Barbados and the region played , in the polluting of the worlds atmosphere, none what so ever, reports were , the region supports less than 1% of the polluting gases to the atmosphere, making our region almost the cleanest area in the world. We want all this money to bring the failing infrastructure, up to par..again the beach is part of that…

    This climate change is just a game play, the so call industrialize countries , who polluted, the worlds atphomsphere, is using islands like Barbados to cover the fact, of what they did making themselves wealthy and left us out of the equations,
    Have a long hard look , at this so call mandate in Paris, by 195 countries, what have they agreed on, when most of them, has borrowed or waiting to receive they loans from the worlds biggest polluter CHINA.. no one had the balls to denounce china at this said conference,,
    Its a farce, the British Government, sign agreement with China for the construction of several nuclear power stations, also the discovery of trillions of barrels of oil under Gatwick, also they would be starting to under take fracking.. fracking and the chemical use pollutes the atmosphere and underground water tables, this is proven in the US. We are so way behind….


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