The Hope Town District Council meeting on September 23 was chaired by Deputy Chief Councillor Harold Malone in the absence of Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting. The Councillors had previously met
informally on September 21 to discuss several pressing issues. They heard from two garbage contractors who were asked to separate their monthly refuse invoices into two parts. Other matters involved the
Hope Town gate and applications for a key. Decisions would be ratified during the official Monday meeting two days later with the Administrator present as required. Three items approved were:
• A contract for repairs to the White Sound dock on Elbow Cay
• A contract for repairs to Man-O-War’s northerly road near the narrows
• A contract for cleaning a mile or more of the roadside verges between the Guana Cay settlement and the Baker’s Bay property. The road verges are overgrown from several years of neglect.
Council members were told that the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Glynis Hanna-Martin, is expected to visit Hope Town to view the road north and see firsthand the controversial gate and hear of traffic
issues. The Road Traffic Act is being revised, and she would like any revisions to properly reflect Hope Town traffic issues. Specific dates were not known for her visit.
Town Planning matters were routine with one application approved for a 13,000 square foot residence estimated to cost $1.4 million within the Baker’s Bay project on Guana Cay.
An informal meeting with the contractors holding the Elbow Cay and Man-O-War garbage contracts had been held two days earlier on Saturday morning. Government has asked contractors throughout the country to resubmit their monthly bills in two parts, one being the cost of collecting the refuse and transporting it to a dump site or collection site, and secondly, a separate bill for the cost of operating and managing the dump-site itself.
Local Government is now responsible for paying only for the collection of residential refuse and getting it to the collection site while Environmental Health is now responsible for overseeing and paying for
managing the sites themselves and any transportation required moving refuse from the cays to the Abaco mainland and on to the landfill there.
However, in presenting government’s request to the two contractors present at the Saturday meeting, it was more complicated than first implied. The Man-O-War transfer site is on government property and
could be separately managed or paid for. The Elbow Cay site is on private land leased by the garbage contractor. The Guana Cay transfer site is on land owned or leased by the Baker’s Bay developer and that they manage. Baker’s accepts Guana’s refuse as a civic donation. This site also holds the refuse generated by the Baker’s Bay development and is adjacent to its commercial wharf where the refuse is taken by barge to Marsh Harbour.
The Guana Cay transfer site will become more interesting in the coming months as Baker’s Bay completes the installation of a commercial incinerator and puts it into operation. This will substantially reduce the volume being barged, then trucked to the Abaco landfill.
Splitting the contracts between collecting and site management opens the door for Environmental Health to choose someone different to manage transfer sites different from whoever collects the refuse. Both contractors were unhappy with this possible option as the package of collecting and managing the site makes it worthwhile to make the investment for equipment.
Owing to the complexities of refuse handling on these three cays, a letter is being written to the Hon. Kendred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing, explaining the situation and asking for
Other business at the Saturday meeting related to traffic in the settlement, the gate and the new lock. On October 1 new keys will be required to open the gate. Extensive discussion centered on traffic in
town, the law prohibiting traffic and the realities at this time. The Councillors were unanimous in accepting the suggestion that the gate be made into something attractive and more prominent as symbolic of Hope Town’s heritage, perhaps with a grand archway of some sort.
The final business for the Saturday meeting was to review the 100 or more applications for keys to the gate allowing vehicles to pass. Annual approvals for a key will cost applicants $50 for a golf cart, $125 for a pickup truck, $150 for a flat-bed truck and $250 for heavy equipment, backhoes, dump trucks and the water truck. Applications have to be approved by the Council and the Elbow Cay Community Association.
Local Government is not allowed to collect money or impose taxes so these gate fees go to the Elbow Cay Community Association governed by three community-minded persons. Other communities including Man-O-War, Marsh Harbour and Sandy Point have similar organizations to raise money for the improvement of their communities.
All decisions by the Council made at Saturday’s meeting were entered into the minutes on Monday in Administrator Preston Cunningham’s presence to make them a matter of record. He was unable to attend the Saturday meeting.
A commercial incinerator is being installed by the Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club on Guana Cay and is expected to begin operations soon. Local Government persons serving on the Hope Town District Council are watching this operation as it has the potential to greatly reduce the volume of refuse transported each month to Marsh Harbour. This costs in excess of $100,000 annually for Elbow Cay alone.
It is believed that the installation of this incinerator is the first on a Bahamian Family Island, and it should be of interest to other communities on small islands or cays with similar refuse problems.
These would include Bimini, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells as well as several other towns on Abaco. The incinerators burn all normal trash, even burns its own smoke with no noxious smoke, leaving just
However, the incinerator will not eliminate barging as appliances, bottles, batteries, vehicles and construction debris will still require a barge.