Minister of Natural Resources and Labour Dr Kedrick Pickering said the Brandywine Bay Beach project on Tortola has suffered setbacks, resulting in the completion date for the project being pushed back to the start of the next tourism season.
He said the initial plan was to have the project completed this season.
“We’d hoped to have it completed by the end of this tourist season, but we had some setbacks with respect to the dredging, which should resume in the next week or so. And this should take us to the end of that project. Certainly, by the next tourism season, that beach will be fully functional and usable by visitors and locals alike,” Dr Pickering said.
He, during the government’s NDP Radio programme on Monday, stated that the first phase of the project has been completed.
“We have finished pretty much the first phase which was to widen the beach, to help remove most of the silt that was at the bottom of the beach – which made the beach itself non-functional, because if you went into the water you would’ve found that you were sinking. And then there were other areas of the beach where seaweed was very prominent, and made it very difficult for beach lovers to be able to enjoy.”
“So we’ve done a number of things on Brandywine Bay Beach up to this point in time. We’ve removed the seaweed; we’ve removed the silt, and we’ve been able to dredge sand from the waters surrounding the beach and expand the beach. We’ve also been able to complete the silt trap from the ghut. If you pass by there you will see we’ve done a major job there to ensure that, when you have heavy water flow, the water can filter from the ghut instead of running directly into the beach,” Dr Pickering explained.
He said the team of workers is now getting ready for the second phase of the project.
“One of the big issues there is to ensure that we put in a sidewalk along the entire length of the beach, which will be important for pedestrian traffic, but also for the vendors that will be using the beach to have access to the beach from the roadside. Once that is complete, we are going to then start putting up the concession stands, which will then make the beach itself usable for the purposes for which it is intended.”
Dr Pickering also used the opportunity to underscore the importance of the Brandywine Bay Beach project.
“Brandywine Bay Beach is one of those that have been identified as being extremely important in its overall capacity for both locals and visitors alike to be able to utilize, but especially to take some of the traffic away from Cane Garden Bay on the heavy cruise ship days.”
Dr Pickering also said it is noteworthy that Barandywine Bay is one of the few beaches on the southern end of Tortola, and so it doesn’t suffer the effects of ground swells. “So, it can be utilized even more so when there are ground swells [elsewhere].”
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