Getting there

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.

dwight sutherland
Dwight Sutherland, the business development and operations consultant.

“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 drawing of the soon to be constructed cement plant at the Flour Mill.
A drawing of the soon to be constructed cement plant at the Flour Mill.

“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.

6 Responses to Getting there

  1. Doria Alleyne
    Doria Alleyne February 13, 2015 at 5:51 am

    I say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to cenment plant on SpringGardens Hightway.Who’s the fool that come up with this ideal?Don’t disstroy Spring Garden with all that cement dust.

  2. Nita Holligan
    Nita Holligan February 13, 2015 at 8:53 am

    What about the residents living nearby?

  3. Carl Harper February 13, 2015 at 9:38 am

    The previous mouthings of the principal associated with Hard Rock Cement (HRC) would seem to suggest that the decision to commence operations is already a fait accompli. It was disclosed that the plant should be operational by April, even though Town Planning indicated formal planning permission has not been received by that department; only meetings with representatives of the company.

    Business development and operations consultant for HRC, Dwight Sutherland, said “over excitement” was probably the reason for the company announcing plans before applying for permission. But such is not unusual with the person behind the company.

    Few years ago, even before plans for the redevelopment of Bushy Park were submitted to Town Planning, the same person was in the Press discussing the scope of works and a start date for construction.

    There has also been reports in the Press that the gas station at the Villages at Coverley did not obtain the necessary planning permission and, to accommodate it now, there is a standoff between Government and developer over who should bear the costs to relocate three houses that are too close to the operations.

    All eyes are glued to if the Prime Minister will grant permission for the Barbados Turf Club to erect 28 seventy-foot tall poles around the Garrison historic area to facilitate night time horse racing. Any permanent structures must “tastefully” blend in with the dominant characteristics of the area, and should not be obtrusive or be considered an eyesore.

    Remember the Garrison Savannah falls within an area designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has to be treated more delicately than, say, Kensington Oval or the National Stadium. Barbados can lose the Inscription if activities and structures fall out of line with specific requirements.

    Having said that, siting the cement plant at the proposed location falls within established planning and industrial zoning ordinances. The dominant prevailing winds will most likely carry dust away from land and out to sea. Compatibility conflict and particulate matter would be of concern to ADM Flour Mill that is located down wind and the possibility of contamination of their flour. There must also be concern for cement particles getting into the ocean and smoldering the coral reefs coastal and marine officals are trying so desperately to protect.

    Given the dust- and noise-filled nightmare of residents in close proximity to the Arawak Cement Plant in St Lucy, those living in the city limits have legitimate concerns that should not be ignored. The authorities and plant owner must allay the fears of residents, beachgoers and area businesses before construction begins, and owe them a duty of care when the plant is operational. If there is advanced technology to reduce noise and eliminate/minimize dust pollution, such information should be shared up front via correspondence and town hall meetings.

    The manner in which these projects are unfolding, appears to be a “done deal” long before the necessary go-ahead approvals are granted by the relevant agencies, and that should be cause for concern.

  4. Sanderson Rowe February 13, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Then there is a Canadian rich man in Gunsite Road- Brittons Hill, the PM’s Constituency, who without planning permission decided to requisition the cul-de-sac public road leading to his mansion,cutting a marl filled car road to the north of his property as an alternative. It appears as if he was granted permission subsequently.
    As for the 75 foot flood lights on the Garrison, perhaps this lofty eyesore will detract any concerned visitor from seeing the garbage and decay at ground level in what is supposed to be a UNESCO heritage site.

  5. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole February 13, 2015 at 11:16 am

    A chicken and the egg suitation. Without permission and the required studies it is stated to start. To much damage will be done to the environment and the dust will affect the health of the people. Does Barbados need 2 cement plants?

  6. Terry Harewood
    Terry Harewood February 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    NO…. to a cement plant on beautiful Spring Garden. Take it down St. Lucy.


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