Wednesday 20 November, 2019

Petition launched against Tobago Sandals

A petition has been launched against the proposed Tobago Sandals resort and proposals to remove mangrove forests near the protected Bon Accord Lagoon and Buccoo Reef. 

The petition, which was launched by a group of concerned citizens, had gathered almost 1,000 signatures on Monday. The group intends to submit the petition to Sandals CEO, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart. 

The petition said the double-resort, which will consist of almost 1,000 rooms and included a golf course and overwater buildings, will destroy the Reef and lead to flooding in southwest Tobago.

Government has filed for a Certificate of Enviromnental Clearance (CEC) from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA). 

"Butch Stewart owner of Sandals and Beaches resorts calls flooding and coastal erosion “fake news”. He wants to build 2 mega hotels in Tobago, bulldozing sensitive wetlands in the Buccoo Reef Marine Park zone to do so. The consequences will be devastating - flooding, coastal erosion, destruction of fish spawning and turtle breeding grounds and bird habitats. Let’s prevent this environmental destruction. Tell Butch Stewart and Sandals environmental disasters are not “fake news”."

Related Article

"Sandals and Beaches resorts are targeting the protected Buccoo Reef/ Bon Accord wetland complex for mega hotel development. Tobago has a highly rated low-key eco-tourism with pristine rainforests, coral reefs and secluded beaches. Sandals and Beaches are moving in for the kill."

"Their plan - cut, clear, and fill in hundreds of acres of protected wetlands to build 2 mega resort playgrounds with 925 hotel rooms, 25 restaurants and a golf course."

"Please help Tobago protect our coastline and preserve our natural heritage. DON’T throw Tobago’s wetlands under the bus just to make a buck," the petition said.

The petition also pointed to the use of chemicals which can seep into watercourses and kill marine life, including turtles. 

The petition also pointed at the construction of oversea structures near No Man's Land (Sheerbird Point) which it says would block the public from accessing No Man's Land and the beaches there. 

"By law all Tobago’s beaches are public. Yet Sandals and Beaches will erect five jetties across Buccoo beach effectively preventing public access. Similarly, they will attempt to corral Nylon Pool and No Man's Land for themselves by building over-water suites, blocking access by the Reef boats and fishermen."

"On other islands, Sandals charge locals a prohibitive fee to use their facilities. This keeps the host population out, maintaining Sandals exclusive “all inclusive” boast. Butch Stewart is proud of it but Tobago says NO. No Man's Land and Nylon Pool do not belong to Butch Stewart and Sandals."

Marine scientist, Dr Anjani Ganase, wrote in local blog Wild Tobago that a resort of that size will permanently destroy the Buccoo Reef and nearby Bon Accord Lagoon.

She said the removal of mangroves and construction of artificial formations such as the golf course can lead to catastrophic flooding in southwest Tobago. 

See here for the petition: https://bit.ly/2JHbEML

 

Tobago Sandals CEC application

About Tobago Sandals

A recent CEC application listed several details about the project as follows:

- Five-star development consisting of 925 rooms in two resorts, 25 restaurants, four jetties, two of which lead to over water rooms and one over water chapel. The entire project should take up over 260 hectares.

- Constructed wetland and lakes, boardwalks and equestrian trails, roads, walkways, drainage, beach nourishment and protection

- Overwater buildings which extend from No Man’s Land out into the sea

- 17 percent of the land will be converted to covered space and paved areas (excluding the golf course)

- Estimated water consumption of 2,000 cubic metres per day

- Estimated solid waste production of 100 metric tonnes per day, to be disposed of at the Studley Park Landfill or recycled

- Estimated wastewater production of 1,850 cubic metres (over 500,000 gallons) per day, to be treated at the WASA southwest Tobago water treatment facility

- Project lists construction activities such as clearing, cutting, excavation and grading of the land.

- Intended commencement by January 2019.

Buccoo Reef, Bon Accord Lagoon protected by Ramsar Convention

The Buccoo Reef and the Bon Accord Lagoon have been declared internationally as environmentally sensitive sites which contain sensitive species including coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests. The lagoon is also home to the critically endangered Hawkbill turtle and at least 119 fish species.

The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

 

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