Members of Green Turtle Cay District Council responded to a fellow council member’s criticisms of an ongoing beach restoration project stating that the facts don’t bear out his position.
In an article in the April 15, 2014 edition of The Abaconian council member Donnie Adderley’s alleged that a project, featuring what he refers to as a “bulkhead” built by a single homeowner on Gillam Bay, has caused the loss of hundreds of feet of beach on Gillam Bay in Green Turtle Cay. In addition, Mr. Adderley questioned whether such a “bulkhead” is permitted by law as well as making other claims and assertions.
According to Kenvin Jones, member of the Council, said the project was approved by the council unanimously, and that Mr. Adderley was present at the time. The Abaconian was shown the plans with the signatures of the council members on it including Mr. Adderley’s.
Mr. Jones said that the project Mr. Adderley refers to is not a bulkhead built by one homeowner, but rather “a seawall built with the necessary permits as required by Bahamian law.” He noted that the seawall was a part of a beach restoration project not unlike one that successfully took place in New Providence.
He said that four homeowners have funded the project to protect their homes from “ultimate destruction due to the beach erosion caused by hurricanes, tropical storms and sea rages that have occurred in the past several years, the most severe of which was hurricane Sandy in 2012.” He said that the ocean was lapping at the steps of several homes at this point.
This project underwent a rigorous review and approval process that culminated in numerous approvals beginning with a vote in February 2012 by residents of Green Turtle Cay in favor of the project by a margin of 53 to 1. Mr. Adderley, he said, was also present at that meeting and did not oppose.
Mr. Jones said it wasn’t until 2013 that all the various approvals needed had been received and that the restoration project could begin. “Unfortunately hurricane Sandy had occurred in the meantime and caused significantly more damage adding further to the cost and duration of the project,” he said.
Upon approval of the project by the BEST Commission and at their requirement, the project has been supervised by Caribbean Coastal Engineering Services (CCES) of Nassau. Four homeowners have paid all expenses.
Mr. Jones said that the project is not complete and has been significantly delayed due to weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances. “Unfortunately, at the current time the sea wall is still visible and the sand replenishment contemplated by the scope of this project that would cover the sea wall and restore the beach has also been delayed,” he said.
Mr. Jones said that the erosion of the beach at Gillam Bay has been an issue for a long time. Groynes were installed at most property boundaries to slow erosion on the Bay over 20 years ago. He said these groynes worked well for many years but most were not maintained and began to lose their effectiveness.
He said that eventually the groynes were breached on the land side and the rate of erosion increased dramatically. Surveys done prior to the installation of the seawall indicated that over 100’ of the properties had been lost since surveys done around 2005.
Mr. Jones said that the property shown in the photo Mr. Adderley gave The Abaconian had already eroded to about the same point prior to the installation of the seawall. He added that the owner of this property was given the option to be a part of the restoration project but opted not to.