Members of the Grenada Land Actors Platform have called on the Hartman Resort Group Ltd to share its Environmental Impact Assessment with the public before any further work is undertaken at the site.
Similar to its request to developers of Levera Nature and Beach Resort in Saint Patrick for more public involvement, the group of conservationists, scientists and others committed to environmentally sound, sustainable development expressed their concerns in a September 25 letter to Ms Wenli Yao and Mr Marco Ma of Hartman Resort Group Ltd.
The Land Actors Platform is concerned about the environmental impacts of such a large-scale project on the wetland, seagrass beds and coral reef ecosystems. The group noted that mangroves and seagrass beds provide a nursery for fish, the neighboring coral reef is a popular site for fishermen and an important source of livelihoods; and worried about the impact on the critically-endangered Grenada Dove.
“As you may be aware, the Grenada Dove is currently in its breeding season, a time when the population is most vulnerable to predation – the leading cause of nesting failure for birds. Currently, we have not been advised of any mitigation strategies to be put in place during the construction phase to ensure that these birds are not harmed (eg, predator exclusion fences, surveys before clearing to ensure no birds are within proximity),” the group told the developers.
Also, the letter points out the area is known to provide important habitats for other endangered species such as the Grenada Hook-Billed Kite; and is home to important cultural heritage sites and natural assets that provide livelihoods for local residents.
The company, in a September 22 press statement, had said it will work in line with environmental best practices and the laws of Grenada “conscious of the endangered status of the Grenada Dove,” and according to the regulations stipulated by the Physical Planning Unit.
The developers commit to standards that will not “negatively impact the Bird Sanctuary and the surrounding conservation [and] will also preserve and observe the regulations set out for the National Park.”
The company stated the Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted and completed, and the “results and guidelines are available for discussion with various local stakeholders, as necessary.”
The Land Actors Platform said obtaining feedback on these documents is an important part of the planning process and requested copies.
“Neither the Hartman Resort Group Ltd nor the Government have made any public presentation of the project. Therefore it is impossible for the public to gauge the benefits and the advantages. For example: the economic pitfalls, number of jobs for Grenadians and their level of qualification. Further the public has not been informed of – exactly who the developers are i.e. the persons or entities forming part of the Hartman Resort Group Ltd; which company will be managing the resort once built; the expected annual revenue and therefore tax contribution of the project to Grenada’s economy or even the expected opening date of this resort,” the letter stated.