Residents of the Marsh Harbour Township are continuing to voice displeasure over open air concert events that are taking place at the BAIC (Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation) Park which they say rattle their windows and keep them up until the early hours of the morning.
Marsh Harbour / Spring City Town Committee Chairman Roscoe Thompson said he has heard complaints via social media and members have been receiving calls of irate residents who want the concerts shut down or moved out of the area.
Residents are again upset as a concert featuring Beanie Man is scheduled for the park on Saturday, August 4.
Mr. Thompson said he and the Committee are very disappointed in concerts being held at BAIC Park.
“We have asked to be notified of events happening and we continue to be the last to find out,” he said.
“It’s not that we don’t want the government or BAIC making any money but it’s the fact that that venue sits in the middle of Marsh Harbour which is a residential area.”
He said he personally met with Gary Smith, Manager at BAIC in Abaco, asking that if events are held they end and midnight and the garbage is cleaned up right afterwards, not the next day.
Mr. Thompson said “the last free concert went past midnight, but I must say it was cleaned up that night.”
He added that it seems approvals are coming from Nassau and by-passing the locals all together.
“Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any concerts should be held in any residential area including Dundas Town at the primary school grounds or Murphy Town at the ball field,” he said.
Mr. Thompson said there should be a place located out of town possibly near Bahamas Hot Mix and Big Cat’s quarry pit. “Central Government needs to allocate a piece of crown land with the proper parking and lighting and with electrical so that they can hold these events,” he said.
He added that “We as a Township have brought and continue to bring this matter before the MP for our area but no resolution as of yet.”
He said that the Committee doesn’t want to prevent people earning money; however they need to be concerned for the peace of residents that live in the area, “So there has to be a middle ground.”
He said that BAIC was not built for concerts, “it was put there for people to be able to sell produce – which I have yet to see them do – and events like our Independence Day Celebration and the Christmas Bazaar which is fine because they are over before twelve.”
Gary Smith Local Manager at BAIC said that he is not in a position to deny the event promoters use of the park, as it is available to anyone who applies to make use of the area (though the Department can refuse an applicant use of the space).
He did say though, that the contract for use of the park includes stipulations for clean-up immediately following an event and noted that the contract does not permit them to play music beyond the legally permitted time of midnight.
He noted that the issue of loud music is something that needs to be enforced by the Police.
Mr. Smith said that he has been in discussions with Central and South Abaco MP James Albury and North Abaco MP Darren Henfield as well as Marsh Harbour Town Committee Chairman Roscoe Thompson regarding the issue as all parties are seeking an equitable compromise.
He said that no one in discussing the live music events wants to prevent the promoters from doing business and making money; They are currently looking for alternative locations where residents will not be impacted by the sound late at night.