The New Today

Commentary

Another ‘Chinese take away’ of Grenada’s assets

Coral Cove is just 5 acres of unique coastal and marine environment surrounded by some vacant land and a few low-density residences.

It has a narrow, fragile beach protected from erosion by ancient native trees and is a vital nesting site for critically endangered hawksbill turtles.

The sea is shallow with sea grass beds for 300 feet out to the reef – important feeding grounds for hawksbill and green turtles. It faces east and gets the full blast of Atlantic winds and weather all year round.

It is a little sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife – for most of the year the sea is fished by ospreys, frigates, pelican and various gulls, and the coastal strip is home to barn owl, bats, small rodents, manicou and iguana.

If the Chinese developer is successful in getting full planning consent, soon all this will be gone under a big multi-storey hotel development – courtesy of the Government of Grenada. Yes the same Grenada Government marketing the island as ‘Pure Grenada’ [https://www.puregrenada.com] to emphasise that it’s unspoiled and in tune with nature.

The proposed development will have a devastating effect on the environment and ecology of this fragile little piece of Grenada – and all the residences on the access roads from Sugar Mill to Coral Cove.

There are already many hotels on the island and advanced plans and building for huge developments that will overload the island’s infrastructure including roads, already at bursting point at key junctions.

The Atlantic sea blast at Coral Cove makes it totally unsuitable for a tourist sun, sea and sand hotel. It will doubtless become a white elephant – a skeleton building – having wrecked the natural environment.

The issue is bigger than Coral Cove. The government is busy supporting overseas developers build inappropriate schemes on environmentally sensitive sites all over the island for mass tourism hotels. These are huge developments with hundreds of rooms in multi-storey buildings destroying the natural eco-systems.

Government approval of these concrete invasions is so lax and lacking in transparency that groups of citizens are taking government to the high court with Judicial Review – a mechanism to reverse decisions where government has acted illegally or improperly.

It doesn’t have to be like this! We can have genuinely eco-friendly, small-scale and up-market tourism whilst preserving the natural heritage and continuing its access for Grenadians to enjoy.

We want modest numbers of tourists paying lots of money to enjoy the natural environment of the island – something different from the mass tourism of high-rise hotels and crowded beaches elsewhere where all the farmers become waiters and food has to be imported!

Let’s be clear: we want tourism. But not this kind! The community supports only a small nature-based marine lodge on this site with links to marine and coastal ecology.

Increasingly, tourists from richer country source markets are seeking vacations participating in environmental improvement not degradation – with the kids under supervised dives, reconstructing reefs, counting species numbers, protecting turtle nesting sites etc.

It’s a shame the Grenada Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism are so far behind the times: following the same tired old tourism formula instead of leading the change and conserving the natural assets of the island.

This is not Grand Anse. This is not the place for a big hotel. So it’s up to us Grenadians and our friends overseas! Stop this development!

A community group has a web site explaining the story: www.coralcovegrenada.org

Visit this and sign up to receive news emails. See the ‘What you can do’ page to oppose this development.

The Coral Cove Group