A number of changes have been made to the multimillion-dollar Havers Development Project since it was first introduced some three years ago. However, residents still seem to be generally dissatisfied with the proposed project.
Project developers, JSSR Holdings Limited, is proposing to develop a residential community using reclaimed land. The development will comprise a 120-room hotel, beach condominiums and residential houses, a marina, a spa, fitness centre, restaurants, stores, beaches, marina slips, among other things.
When the project was first proposed, developers planned to reclaim 8.64 acres of land but that has been reduced by more than 50 percent, and developers now plan to reclaim 4.2 acres.
On the other hand, the developers have increased the number of marina slips where boats/vessels will dock. The proposed number of slips have increased from 55 to 114.
Developers are also proposing two man-made beaches instead of one. The approximate six-year development, which is to happen in five phases, was first projected to cost $70 million but that cost is expected to increase. That new figure is yet to be specified.
All these were made known during a community meeting at the Valerie O Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay last Thursday. The meeting was for residents to give feedback on the project.
A similar meeting was held three years ago and residents, at the time, raised concerns the project would have infringed on certain landowners’ property.
During last week’s meeting, Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal — a marine biologist who represents the project developers — put those concerns to rest.
“All the buildings [for the project] will be on the reclaimed area. They are not on anything (land) that exists now and that is a significant difference to what was presented back in 2015,” Dr Titley-O’Neal said.
But, while that concern has been addressed, residents still had environmental concerns, as well as concerns about the location of the development’s marina, which they believe is ‘too open’ and has a small chance of survival if another major hurricane hits.
In response to those concerns, Dr Titley-O’Neal countered by asking: “Which marina in the BVI was not impacted by Irma?” Notably, the new marina built at Nanny Cay was virtually unaffected by that hurricane.
Dr Titley-O’Neal had further said, while there are no guarantees the proposed marina will not be devastated if a major disaster hits, the environmental impact study of the Havers Development Project was conducted by ‘qualified coastal engineers’.
She suggested the developers’ environmental impact assessment proves the good outweighs the bad in relation to the project.
But, residents were still generally dissatisfied with the project, especially as it relates to location and the feared environmental fallouts.
Project approved in principle
The Town and Country Department are now responsible to take the concerns of residents into consideration when deciding whether to approve the development. Other things to be considered is the results of the developers’ environmental impact assessment, which was redone after the 2017 disasters.
Though a final decision is still to be made, Chief Planner Greg Adams told BVI News the project has been “approved in principle”.
“With any largescale development, the planning authority has to its disposal the use of public meetings to gather input from the community to help them to formulate a decision,” explained Adams, who said his department will not make a decision before August when another community meeting is held.
Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.