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Sauteurs breakwater protects and destroys

The combination of coastal erosion from climate change and the impact of the Breakwater project have made at least eight families in Saint Patrick homeless.
In October 2020 members of the Mt Craven/Mt Rodney Disaster Preparedness Mitigation & Environmental Organisation (MCDEPMO) told Parliamentary Representative for Saint Patrick West Hon Anthony Boatswain and Parliamentary Representative for Saint Patrick East Hon Pamela Moses the Breakwater structure posed a threat to families living near the sea.
Their warnings have proven true and government is now looking to relocate eight families. Speaking at the post Cabinet press briefing on Tuesday (Jan 19), Minister of Infrastructure Development, Transport and Implementation Senator the Hon Norland Cox confirmed that Cabinet agreed to provide financial support for the relocation.
“Government has responded swiftly to address this matter. We have currently engaged a coastal engineering company who will come in very soon, hopefully within the next two to three weeks, to conduct a study,” which is expected to take two to three months to conduct. Once the study is completed the government will “respond to that coastal erosion,” according to Cox.
Meanwhile, the government will advance remedial work “to stay whatever coastal degradation is taking place.”
The Sauteurs Breakwater project, which dates back to 2018, is an artificial barrier designed to curtail beach erosion and protect the harbour from heavy waves. However, while it has provided some protection by interfering with the currents that extend from the shore to the breaking waves, the structure has also resulted in coastline damage at Mt Craven and Mt Rodney and to residences in the area.
Local residents, who said the disaster at the beaches “has been going on for three years,” were told by MPs at the October 2020 meeting that mitigation work for the beaches and the remainder of the Breakwater wall are priorities in the 2021 budget. There was no mention of the Breakwater project in the 2021 budget presentation by Minister of Finance Gregory Bowen.
Acting political leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the situation at the breakwater is an unnecessary man-made disaster. In an interview with The Grenadian Voice on Tuesday, he said the extensive erosion and loss of family homes could have been avoided had the government commissioned the study before proceeding with the project.
“Now they are doing the study that should have been done long before such a project of this magnitude was undertaken. Now, when people have lost their homes and there is irreparable damage to our coastline, they decide to act,” he said.
In its 2016 Blue Growth Master Plan, the government “committed to conserve at least 20% of our nearshore marine resources and rebuild natural capital” and identified Sauteurs as a site for a ferry dock, a resort marina, a yacht charter hotel and villas and a restaurant.
The ‘Blue Growth Development Zone’ for the proposed Sauteurs marina includes 10 acres of reclaimed land adjacent to Sauteurs and below Caribs leap. The plan indicates the marina project would provide 65 slips and accommodate a ferry terminal for a new ferry stop.
“The strategic location on the north coast of Grenada would provide protected slips and immediate access to the Grenadines,” according to the 2016 plan.

The beach and the trees are disappearing


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