A Town Meeting was held in the J.A. Pinder Primary School at Sandy Point on May 29 for all Council Chairmen from South Abaco to present an end-of-term report on what had been achieved in their townships during their past three year term. This would be the final meeting before the three-year term of all councillors came to an end on May 31.
Following an opening prayer by Bishop Carol, Stanley White, Chairman of the Sandy Point Township and Chief Councillor for the South, gave an update on special projects in his area during the last three years.
2011: School painted, minor repairs made to dock, beach cleanups and sign put at Fire house.
2012: Beach cleanups continued and repairs made to roads in Sandy Point.
2013: Road reflectors placed on corners between Sandy Point and Snake Cay, Internet provided for the new library and the opening ceremony for the Naomi Lightbourne library took p[lace.
2014: Signs placed at the entrance to Sandy Point, in front of the community/hurricane centre, beautification of the airport roundabout and major renovations to the ballpark.
Israel Williams, Chairman for the Township of Crossing Rocks, stated that projects have been difficult because “we can only do so much with the funds we are given.” After Hurricane Sandy, lights were placed on the basketball court, beaches were cleaned, speed bumps were placed throughout the Crossing Rocks community, fuel was provided at the dock and road patching from Snake Cay to Crossing Rocks continued.
A major accomplishment was the digging of the foundations for a fire station and the acquisition of enough materials to complete the floor.
Chairman for the Cherokee Township, John Hudson, stated that despite money donated by local government towards the completion of the Cherokee Clinic, funds were still insufficient and so the decision was made to hold fundraisers to raise funds towards its completion.
Efforts are being made to close the dump in Cherokee which has been a serious problem for years and major work to the firehouse in Bahama Palm Shores resulted in the firehouse there reaching completion.
Verges on the road into Casuarina Point were cut and funds have now been provided for repairs to the boat ramp and some back roads and quotes are being obtained for these ongoing projects.
Several other invited guests then spoke. Sgt. Darville gave the welcome news that crime in South Abaco is at a minimum. He then turned his attention to the urgent need for a fire truck and volunteer fire service in Sandy Point. He is earnest about getting this started right away and offered to spearhead a committee towards achieving this.
Jeremy Saunders of the Marine Resources Department spoke directly to the fishermen present, asking them to pass on the message to any of their fishermen friends who were not at the meeting. He is very concerned about crawfish traps which are left in the water.
“These must be removed at the end of the season since the traps are killing lobsters. If these traps are not removed by June 6 I will go out and destroy them or let the lobster out,” he stated. He also announced that compressor licenses are now being renewed and also trapping licenses.
Bishop Carol of Urban Renewal, which is based in North Abaco, stated that the goal of Urban Renewal is; “To impact the life of each individual resident in each community.” He stated that Urban Renewal is available to help all persons going through hard times in life and that it has been very successful already in North Abaco.
All persons from South Abaco are invited to contact Urban Renewal through Administrator Harris Smith if they have any needs or problems they would like assistance with.
William Krezel, Engineer with the Ministry of Works who has replaced John Schaefer, was introduced and he pledged to serve the community of South Abaco. He gave a summary of the work in progress and scheduled for the future for Sandy Point which includes current temporary repairs to the wooden dock and future construction of a concrete dock, cutting of roadside verges and patching of the Ernest Dean Highway to Sandy Point. However, he pointed out that all work is subject to budget cuts.
Other invited guests who spoke briefly were Dianne Claridge, representing Friends of the Environment and Marques Williams, new Port Administrator. A few Sandy Point residents gave updates regarding areas of particular concern to them. Kenneth Darville, spoke on behalf of the Sandy Point Development Association, Benjamin Pinder gave an update on vandalism to the burial society building and Diana Fox, President of the Naomi Lightbourne library, stated that on June 20 the library will be opened to the public.
As yet it has been officially named in an opening ceremony but has not been ready for use. To date six computers and a number of books have been donated and so it will be opened in time for school children to be able to use it as soon as school closes. Ms. Fox is appealing to members of the community and corporate citizens to assist however they can with donations of additional books and computers of which the library is greatly in need.
Administrator Smith opened the floor to questions telling the audience that this is their chance to put forward their concerns and requests and asking them to think about what they would like to see done in their community.
Concerns voiced were:
-The state of the roads which are considered now to be past the patching stage.
-Garbage spread throughout the area. It was suggested that persons need to take more pride in their surroundings and that children should be taught from an early age to dispose of garbage correctly.
-Stray dogs in the area are a major concern and much of the garbage problem is blamed on them.
-A doctor is urgently needed in Sandy Point
-The gathering of juvenile conch. Mr. Saunders stated that laws for the taking of conch need to be looked at and a person is coming to do a survey for one week in Sandy Point in June to focus on another means of enforcing conch laws.
The meeting was closed with prayer by John Hudson and refreshments followed.