Sunday 8 December, 2019

Rough seas prompts emergency intervention at Pigeon Point

Emergency work has commenced at Pigeon Point after rough seas and wind has accelerated coastal erosion in the area.

This was revealed via stated issued by the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE) of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) on Wednesday.

The release said the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) has taken note of current prolonged sea swell events originating in the Northern Atlantic Ocean which has negatively affected businesses in the area. According to the Unit, coastal erosion has accelerated in these areas and the current event is not an isolated or unique event.

In response, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has commenced emergency stopgap measures and other infrastructural works. This is in an effort to arrest the impacts of the prevailing wind and wave action at Pigeon Point, thereby mitigating further damage to businesses in the area.

“With the support of the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), a 100 ft. tube dam was installed at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, where the damage is most prominent. Additionally, the DIQE is in the process of installing a near-shore temporary wave breakwater system comprised of varying grades of andesite armoured rock in the area.”

The statement further noted that $60 million is required to implement a scientific and comprehensive solution to the coastal erosion challenge currently experienced at Pigeon Point and Milford Bay, Tobago.

It said such an intervention would include geotechnical studies and modelling, relocation of buildings and the installation of a blend of both hard and soft engineering techniques.

“In recognition of the importance this current area plays to Tobago’s tourism image, the CZMU initiated a process for the expansion of a 2013 coastal modelling and study of Pigeon Point to now include Milford Bay. A conceptual design for the area is the main output for this undertaking. 2 TTD $4 million was allocated for Coastal Zone Management Programme for fiscal 2020. Yet, the DIQE remains committed to securing the interests of those affected balanced with the need to minimise the negative impact of measures on the sensitive marine environment and adjacent sections of the coastline.”

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