With no concrete plans announced but work continuing, the Abaco Defenders group remains concerned about the expansion of the Treasure Sands resort in Treasure Cay.
According to the newly formed NGO, after the initial unpermitted dredging was stopped with a cease and desist order from the BEST Commission, Treasure Sands received permission for three temporary structures on their property across the road from the resort. They believe none of these should be on the reclaimed property that resulted from the dredging, property whose ownership is still in question according to Abaco Defenders.
The NGO appealed this approval at local government level as they were concerned that the decisions were made without knowledge of what the larger plans for the development are. “There are also serious concerns about the fate of historical artifacts,” said Fiona Bootle, President of Abaco Defenders. “These have been that were found on the property this summer.”
Recently the Director of the Bahamas Antiquities Monuments and Museum, Dr. Keith Tinker, toured the site with members of the NGO and the manager of Treasure Sands, Tim Blakely. “There is sufficient evidence for the area to be considered a significant Heritage site,” said Dr. Tinker who also called for construction to cease pending further investigation.
Despite not receiving any response from North Abaco Administrator, Neil Campbell, on their appeal – the Abaco Defenders spent an afternoon kayaking in the sand banks creeks with members of Save The Bays to assess the damage done by the dredging.
“It was amazing how many turtles we saw in such a short time,” said CEO of Save The Bays – Lindsey McCoy, ”There is a great deal of vibrant life within the creeks that could be damaged by additional dredging.”
Part of the purpose of the kayak trip was also to determine whether or not dredging would be required to get bonefish skiffs in and out of the area, one of the plans that have been mentioned in connection with the expansion of Treasure Sands. The resulting video is available on the Abaco Defenders Facebook page.
“We are disappointed that Treasure Sands has still not communicated to the public the full extent of their plans for the property across the road from their restaurant” said Bootle,, “It’s possible we might support their expansion plans, but the reality is we don’t know what they are planning, what the impact will be on the creeks and the only road in and out of Treasure Cay.”
According to Bootle, legal precedents dictates that the community has a right to know what developers are doing in their community and that they have a legal right to comment on those plans.
“That’s all we are asking from Treasure Sands,” said Bootle. “Respect the locals and let us know what your plans are, like in any other country in the world!”