The Hope Town District Council met April 16 and oversaw the largest recorded value for building plan applications approved by the Council, with the total value at about $31.1 million.
As the meeting started a moment of silence was observed in respect of the passing of three persons within the district; Faith Tompkins who was a second home owner who volunteered time with the school on Man-O-War, Frank Kenyon, founder of Friends of the Environment and Belinda McIntosh, head of the local Road Traffic Department.
The council was addressed by the Abaco Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of the meeting, represented by Vado Bootle and Keith Bishop, who made it clear that the Chamber wanted to ensure that the group had a presence throughout Abaco and not be seen to be only concerned with Central Abaco.
They also encouraged the Council to leverage the Chamber to assist in ensuring the ease of doing business in Abaco as they have a seat at the table with Government. Deputy Chief Councillor Donnie Carey noted their continued dissatisfaction with the business licensing process as it leaves local government and the people of the district out of the loop and has led to some issues.
Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting brought to the Council’s attention an issue concerning the condition of the public bathroom at the Crossing. He said he was asked to discuss it with his Council by the Marsh Harbour Spring City Town Committee Chairman, Carl Archer with the view that because the area is used by persons from the cays that they share in the cost of repairing it.
Chief Councillor Sweeting said he felt that as it was in Marsh Harbour’s district that they should deal with it. He also said, as the new ferry service and the restaurant benefit from the use of the bathroom that they ought to contribute. He added that the bathroom could also be locked overnight to limit vandalism and unnecessary damages.
Deputy Councillor Carey read a resolution to have the North Side Road paved with asphalt. It was said that the majority of people have said that they want the road paved. Mr. Carey said the resolution is to ensure the road is done by the government, and in the meantime if someone suggests an alternative plan that they would accept that would be fine. Councillor Don Cash said that some residents are against the paving as they want to keep the area as natural as possible. The resolution was voted on and passed with one vote against.
The council deferred plans to erect a protective sea wall until they heard from coastal engineer Olsen and Associates. There is concern with the type of sea wall proposed that it may not provide the protection expected while also creating the possibility of beach erosion.
The Administrator noted that the renaming of the Marsh Harbour International Airport to Leonard M Thompson International Airport is expected to take place on May 25. Leonard Thompson was a son of Hope Town and a prominent aviator who once was a bomber pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
The sailing dock was discussed as it is in need of attention. It was suggested that the dock be replaced and not repaired. The anticipated cost is in the area of $38,000 and the sailing club is requesting assistance from the Council.
Mr. Sweeting suggested that they agree to assist but with a stipulation that there be a space reserved for the Council’s boat as well as appropriate space for the Hope Town Fire Rescue boats.