‘Bridgetown dead’

Operators want more done to lively up the city

A spruce-up plan for Bridgetown to make it more welcoming to Barbadians and visitors ran into a wall of concern from residents, business owners, and even the Barbados Fire Service during a Ministry of Tourism-organized town hall meeting last night.

Government intends to redecorate Bridgetown with the assistance of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US$20 million loan that covers the island’s plan for the 2014 to 2018 period.

The plan for The City includes: providing new, informative signage; increasing the number of public toilet facilities; installing tour guide paths; making historic signs more attractive; and making sidewalks accessible for the physically challenged.

But following an outlay of the plan by designer/architect Robert O’Neal, several Barbadians expressed reservations about some of the changes.

Among them was fire prevention supervisor with the Barbados Fire Service Wayne Vaughan who was concerned about access to Beckwith Square, including seating arrangements which appear to encroach on the road.

“Barbados already has relatively small streets,” he said, pointing out that “even now with Swan Street as it is, it creates a bit of a problem for us.

Lead Fire Officer Wayne Vaughan

“Getting large fire appliances in that area in a relatively quick time would be vitally important to us.”

Noting that the proposal currently includes bollards or posts at the road edge, O’Neal agreed that the fire department’s concerns must be taken into consideration.

“Those bollards I don’t think are advisable because a visually impaired person could easily be hitting into those things,” said Roseanna Tudor of the Barbados Council for the Disabled.

Urging the project planners to fully consider accessibility she said: “Your visitors are getting older and they’re coming to us for ease of access to restaurants and hotels. They don’t want to go on the beach alone anymore. They want to know where offers ease of access – and those are your returning visitors.”

Phillip Garner of the Bridgetown Taxi Association expressed his organization’s objection to the plan to reduce spaces for the more than 29 vehicles regularly parked in Beckwith Square to ten.

Phillip Garner

O’Neal agreed to the plan to make further provisions for taxis, but said that as far as Beckwith Square was concerned, “the area needs to be controlled”.

“Ten taxis will always be there and the others in the immediate area will be called up once a space becomes vacant,” he explained.

The spokesman for the taxi drivers also expressed reservations about a proposal for water taxis to ferry tourists along the river, which he said could take away business from his colleagues at Heroes Square.

“Carry the water taxis down to St Lucy to bring people down to town,” Garnes suggested.

Jackie Harewood-Pope of Furniture Limited, in her contribution to the discussion, argued that Bridgetown was “a dead town” and none of the proposals she had heard last night would promote tourism.

“We want to give people things to do. We want a city that is live, inviting, not sitting all the time. We want entertainment, a moving city,” she said, calling for facilities such as a movie theatre and bowling facilities.

Despite Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy objecting to the suggestion that Bridgetown was dead, Harewood-Pope received support from fellow City businesswoman Ram Mirchandani.

“The amount of people we used to get for purchasing in Bridgetown has [slowed down]. When we say Bridgetown is dead, it is not from the point of view of people not walking around, but it is the money that is being spent in town. The majority of the people go out of town for their shopping and otherwise,” she said, pointing out that many Government offices had been relocated from the City, while the promised move by the University of the West Indies to the old Mutual Building was not yet a reality.

Melvina Jones, who said she has been guiding tourists through the City for several years, simply wants Bridgetown to return to its once clean state.

She also supported the idea of reintroducing entertainment in The City.

“There has got to be something happening for people to come,” she said. 

9 Responses to ‘Bridgetown dead’

  1. Chris Barnett
    Chris Barnett June 17, 2017 at 6:01 am

    = Mean like the @HYATTBARBADOS ?????? ding ding ding it like um is rocket science……………Want some help with this turn to the Local Architects and Urban Planners who have a comprehensive understand on how a city should function through the different times of the day.

    Reply
  2. Rose Sylvester
    Rose Sylvester June 17, 2017 at 6:09 am

    So dem kill Bridgetown and now realise it dead all them have to do is put houses in Bridgetown fa ppl to live because d offices moving out slowly

    Reply
  3. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith June 17, 2017 at 6:22 am

    When Government relocated several of its offices out of The city,that alone significantly contributed to the general abandonment of Bridgetown.

    Reply
  4. Alex Alleyne June 17, 2017 at 7:35 am

    BRING PELICAN VILLAGE UP TOWN. THE TOURIST DON’T EVER GO INTO THE AREA WHERE IT IS LOCATED AT PRESENT.

    Reply
  5. Reds Lucombe
    Reds Lucombe June 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Gonna get deader lolll

    Reply
  6. Milli Watt June 17, 2017 at 9:34 am

    by the time these jokers done talk because that is all they do another 25 years will pass…………this already talk bout 20 years ago back here again and we will be back 29 years from now. stupse

    Reply
  7. hcalndre June 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    A country that brags about how educated their people are and no one can come up with an idea to get Bridgetown buzzing again. First they have to get the Empire Theatre refurbish (Jackie Opel center) give it to Richard Stoute to run, his show and the some entertainment on days especially when the tourist season is in full swing maybe a 10 Am, a 2 Pm and maybe a matinee show with various acts, individual or groups doing what ever think that they are good at, limbo, steel pan, singing, acrobatics, comedy but mostly amateurs and if they are not up to marks they will be run off the stage, something like the Apollo in NYC.

    Reply
  8. Donild Trimp June 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    @hcaindre – I hope you are aware of the inherent stupidity of most Barbadians.

    Anything that makes sense (as your piece above does) will be seen as nonsense to those in positions of authority as long as it is not coming from them.

    Reply
  9. greengiant June 17, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Why didn’t the business community reinvest in Bridgetown over the years? The business community and successive governments could have paid the land owners of our urban corridors for their land, with a relocation plan, so there could have been high rise apartments, night life development, marina development, and by now converting Bridgetown to a major financial center in the region.

    So of these very companies instead invested in the rural housing sector, where they are now running out of options, and are now expecting government to once more lead the way. If we examine the business habits in Barbados, the leading retailers, fast food chains, and manufacturers are all involved in high return financial institutions, real estate, and supermarket businesses. They have even relocated their businesses out of the city, thereby reducing the development of urban Barbados for home owners. So indeed they have raped the city, have not reinvested in the physical development, traffic infrastructure, increases commercial activity for small enterprises, taxis nothing. So the city did not die naturally, they have indeed killed the city. I have longed to see Broad street for example with no vehicular traffic, but side walk cafes, craft vendors, sandwich shops, musicians and other bustling small enterprises. They now expect the tax payer who have been their main customers for several decades to rebuild the city. The re-development of Bridgetown needs buy in businesses to take the lead, present a future development model that’s sustainable, become true owners of the city, source the finance and get to work with the state being a facilitator. The government has worked to create overnight cruise business as well as home porting cruise ships, ships come into the country on public holidays, and leave port late at night, but because of the failure of businesses to
    re-position themselves they and the economy can’t maximize the opportunities available.

    When I say that both parties have failed the people over the years, and we need politicians with new creative ideas to take us into the future, this situation, with the failure to modernize the city is yet another one of the several areas in which they have failed to place the country in the driver’s seat for the benefit of future generations.

    Reply

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