Home / News / Local / Concerns continue to be raised in Treasure Cay: “Save the Bays” directors join with Council
Tensions were still running high in North Abaco last week following the dredging at the site of a proposed boutique hotel and fishing lodge by Sand Bar Club and Spa Ltd. near the entrance of Treasure Cay. Residents claim that the dredged site is where the Loyalists first settled after their 1783 landfall at Carleton Point, and that now artifacts of great historical value are lost forever. Although the government issued a cease and desist order on Oct. 22 for dredging to be stopped, it was reported that there was a delay in the developers re­ceiving it.

Concerns continue to be raised in Treasure Cay: “Save the Bays” directors join with Council

Save the Bays directors along with North Abaco Council members.
Save the Bays directors along with North Abaco Council members.

Tensions were still running high in North Abaco last week following the dredging at the site of a proposed boutique hotel and fishing lodge by Sand Bar Club and Spa Ltd. near the entrance of Treasure Cay.

Residents claim that the dredged site is where the Loyalists first settled after their 1783 landfall at Carleton Point, and that now artifacts of great historical value are lost forever. Although the government issued a cease and desist order on Oct. 22 for dredging to be stopped, it was reported that there was a delay in the developers re­ceiving it.

Consequently, the North Abaco Dis­trict Council retained the services of Grand Bahama Attorney Fred Smith, who was joined by Joseph Darville, in Treasure Cay on Nov. 6. Fred Smith and Darville are both directors for the Save the Bays Coali­tion, and stated that they are in allegiance with the council.

“That is reprehensible; it should nev­er happen, [and] I call them environmental terrorists,” Darville said.

“This is a catastrophe waiting to hap­pen,” he said while pointing in the direc­tion of the creek. “They’ve already de­stroyed the habitat of a number of marine species. Right today we stood at the end of this particular excavation, and noticed five different species that are there struggling in this water, which they have already pol­luted.”

Joining the conversation, Ejnar Cor­nish, deputy chief councilor for North Abaco, said he was most concerned by the issue because the North Abaco Dis­trict Council had been bypassed and has received very little information about the project.

Disgruntled resident – Israel Cooper – said the dock constructed at the Treasure Sands Club is an eyesore atop one of the top 10 beaches in the world.

“Everything is being done without any input from the community,” Cooper complained.

Fred Smith agreed with Cooper say­ing that the failure of every government is the lack of respect for the locals.

“Local communities should be al­lowed to make decisions about their own future instead of having it rammed down their throats,” Fred Smith said.

Meanwhile, Chief Councillor Gary Smith said they had invited Fred Smith to view the project with them because they have serious concerns about the way the government has allowed the investor to breach the laws of the country. He said they were disrespected at the highest level.

“We will not sit down and allow them to go any further,” Gary Smith vowed. “We stand strong with the residents of Treasure Cay, and we’re going to fight this until the end. We definitely want this proj­ect to be stopped.

“This is raising serious environmen­tal concerns. We are very much concerned about the dredging her that is going to cause serious flooding during hurricanes and during spring tide.”

Gary Smith added that the develop­ers planned to bulk head the area to allow the water to go around into the surrounding settlements and as far as the S.C. Bootle Highway. Those areas, he said, will be im­passable during hurricanes.

While the chief councillor said he does not have a problem with the project it­self, he does not believe it should be where the creek is.

“This creek should not be touched; the Bahamas National Trust wanted to make this area a national park – that’s say­ing a whole lot,” Gary Smith explained.

Chief Councillor Smith also warned that the North Abaco Council would be revoking the permits issued by the Port Board giving permission to the developers to build docks, and that they are separat­ing themselves from Central Government on this issue.

Fred Smith explained that the stated goals of Save the Bays are to challenge unregulated development and to promote respect for the locals.

“This is about human rights and re­spect for local people, who are most inti­mate and familiar with the environment,” Fred Smith bellowed. “They have raised their children here. They have been here for generations. They love the land and the sea. It has always provided them with sustenance, so it’s a very, very intimate re­lationship that family islanders have with nature.”

As board director for the Treasure Cay Property Owners Association (TCPOA), and general manager of the Treasure Cay Hotel, Resort and Marine, Stephen Kap­peler spoke on behalf of Robert Meister, owner and developer. Kappeler was con­cerned about the illegal dredging taking place without the proper permits. He said that the Meister family owns some of the largest sums of land in North Abaco, and the waterway on the creek side feeds up to the property called Third Phase, which has been reserved for future development.

Treasure Cay business owner, Cliff Bootle, said the dredging will have adverse effects on Ecotourism prospects with kaya­king, the proposed national park, and the further discovery of artifacts – some of which are housed at the hotel.

Weighing in on the issue from a his­torical view, Ann Albury’s family owned 20 acres of property inclusive of Carleton Point, which was where the Loyalists orig­inally settled. Based on what her grand­mother Edna Roberts told her, Albury said the Loyalists used smaller boats to cross over from the beach to the creek area.

With the permission of Norman McK­inney, Albury said that in 1983 a plaque was placed at Carleton Point designating it as the landing place of the Loyalists in 1783. Albury’s husband also found a brick at the creek, and it was confirmed that it was a brick that was used for the ballast of the ship. Piece of china and a military but­ton were also found. So far, she said that Bahamian artist Alton Lowe, Bob Carr, an archaeologist, and Steve Dodge, author, are all aware of what is taking place.

“It’s our heritage that’s being de­stroyed,” Albury said. “We have to put a stop by being a voice and not being scared to speak out.”

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About Canishka Alexander

Canishka Alexander

Canishka Alexander was born in New Providence, but spent most of her childhood years on Abaco. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Abilene Christian University.

Although she has accomplished many things in life, her greatest accomplishment is being a mother to her four children. She loves God, her country and people of all cultures.

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