by Linda Straker
- Clearing of lands in the area was misstep; sub-contractor cleared site unsupervised
- Remedial action will be taken to restore La Sagesse critical environmental assets
- Land was previously privately owned and was never included as a protected area
Environmental Minister Simon Stiell has assured that the developers of the La Sagesse hotel project will undergo corrective measures to restore the area’s environmental assets, which were damaged while the site was being cleared as part of preparatory work.
“All of the environmental damage that was caused as a consequence of this initial clearing will be addressed by the developer throughout the course of the project. So remedial action will be taken to restore those critical environmental assets,” Steill said during a post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday, 25 August 2020.
Describing the clearing of the lands in the area as a misstep, Steill said that the work was carried out unsupervised. “The clearing of the site was subcontracted. That sub-contractor acted without notifying the developer without notifying the physical planning, which is a requirement. So, the work was carried out unsupervised.” He reminded journalists that the developer has publicly assured that his company will undertake restoration work.
Clearing the site has caused some conservationists and environmentalists to speak openly against the project. Costing US$100 million, this tourism development is the first major development for the parish of St David. It is being undertaken by Range Development which has already built tourism properties in St Kitts and Dominica.
Launched in August 2019, Grenada’s project was set to be completed in 2022, but was delayed because of measures by the State to contain and control the spread of Covid-19. More than 200 persons are expected to be employed directly at the project, while 185 will gain permanent employment after completion.
The property will have 100 rooms and 6 villas on 20% of the 28 acres. The land was previously privately owned and was never included as a protected area under any national law or international convention signed by Grenada. However, its widely known as a birdwatching location.
During a recent townhall meeting on Wednesday, 12 August, with residents in the parish and the immediate community, Kamal Shehada of Range Development gave the assurance that the project will be built and operated in accordance with the laws of Grenada, and there is no intention to restrict access to the beach nor destroy the pond that is nestled within the lands. “I am not here to break the law,” said Shehada. “I come with an open heart, I come with an open mind, judge me on what I have done and will be doing.”
Access to the beach and the maintenance of the water pond were two of the issues members in the community were seeking clarity and a better understanding of, as they are of the view that the public will not gain access to the beach as mandated in law.
Shehada said the intention is to develop the beach with a proper recreational facility that will include benches and changing areas. “We don’t own the beach; we will develop the beach.”
The pond, which is part of the wetland in the area, will remain a major attraction for the ambience of the property. Shehada used the town hall session to apologise for the damages done to some of the mangroves as part of soil studies.
He said that the wrong will be corrected by replanting of trees and mangroves. “We will be planting more than 8,000 trees, and nurseries are already taking care of the mangrove and other plants,” he said while calling on residents in the community and the parish of St David to work together.
Grenada is in Jeopardy with the Ministers we have voted in to protect and serve us.Their interest is money not in the people. Shame on you guys for selling out Grenada. Dissolving all economic growth locals was to inherit. We are now slaves to the so call investors abroad and at home.
Wake up Grenadian and fight for your rights. Unity is power!
Remember Our great Maurice Bishop words”Forward ever. Backward never.” Take a stance against foreign control.
I am happy people are recognizing how important their environment is and standing up to the govt and these developers. How beneficial are these hotels and other businesses to Grenadians very little benefits most of the tops paying salaries goes to foreigners and the locals are left with jobs like gardners grounds man clearners laundry workers cook and the list goes on. Why we as a collective unit can come together and open up cooperates and get the job done let our money be spent and stay in grenada. Most of the time these developers and investors are broke not one cent and is tax payers money to get the business started. People wake up foreigners are not going to leave mile away to come and feel sorry for us and help us. A business is all about profits. And finally
that folly talks about restoring the mangrove and stuff isn’t it a cost to restore it then why destroy it in the beginning its just a trick to keep the locals quiet .
Those who criticizing development in Grenada, why don’t they go to Grenada and open environmental friendly businesses and hire Grenadians? There’s other Caribbean islands which started their development since in the 60s. What happened to those islands? They have better roads, better schools, better healthcare, etc. What do you have against Grenada being developed? Let’s control the investors, don’t give them free reign. But let Grenada develop. Young need to find jobs, and pay taxes. That’s all I got to say that!!!!!
Vj Small Islands like Grenada will lose is uniqueness very quickly if it is run over by Development. Seems that investors are only interested in taking over a industries (tourism) the islanders are capable of doing themselves. The young can start a small hotel business if this remains a viable option for them. We lose the youth when there are no option for a successful living. We need other industries to be developed in Grenada. Help Grenada to reduce its dependency on tourism. Because another Covid 19 strategically exposed to the world will cripple all tourism dependent nations. It is imperative that small nations like Grenada look at the right investors now.
Stop treating the local people like idiots SHAME on you . Money is not everything minister’s when you are gone you can not take it with you development is good but over developing as you have already done is no benefit to the people of grenada.
I do not like the way the goverment is treating the locals and kissing the arse of investors i no i am right just waiting for me to say I told you so.
Totally agree!!….Grenadians need to wake up and see the destruction for what it is and what is happening to their beautiful island. They can’t sit back and be complacent and allow ‘money to talk’, Investors and the Chinese to take over…think about the Generation coming up what will be left of Grenada for them? COME ON GRENADA WAKE UP AND STOP SLEEPWALKING INTO DESTRUCTION AND DEVASTATION OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL ISLAND ITS TIME FOR THE PEOPLE TO MOBILISE THEMSELVES AND SAY “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!”.
China is also buying up Grenada, Remember that China is against Christians… keep that in mind whenever speaking of that country and especially when they speak of buying land on the island. Foreign money is making a few in Grenada very rich but look at what is happening. BBC is a good example… remember what it was like 15 years ago? These developers only see money, Grenada government see only money. Open your eyes man, look at what is happening to the country! Just watch, soon foreigners will own the beaches, money will buy anything including beaches. Think it won’t happen? What we do today our children will have to live with, consider that. Or, are we all fools and none of this matters?
Do these magician know how many million of years this ecosystem took to form?
This Steill will just go back to his home country after giving help to destroy ours with his Arab buddies.
This last time I checked, there was no indication that this guy has a background in environmental management.
He tinkered in real estate for a bit and now he is minister of environment despite not being elected; only in Grenada this could happen. This is very sad!
Indigenous Grenadians now have the gifts of Steel and Steill to deal with. What next?
Exactly, you cannot restore what nature creates as it is Muti levelled. You cannot possibly retire the insects , the microbes, the undergrowth, that are specific to the environment that has been destroyed. What kind of trees do you imagine to plant? Again it is not just the replanting of many trees it is the biodiversity that took eons to develop that is gone.
Stop blaming the sub-contractor as they take direction from the top.
What is this statement that the land was previously “privately” owned? Do you have done mistaken impression that environmental laws and considerations only apply to government owned lands?
They say they don’t “own” the beach that they are going to “develop” the beach. You cannot develop something you do not own.
La Sagesse was one of the most serene and spiritual places on Grenada. It did not require development.
The public needs also to be aware that Russian film makers were paid to spend a year, a whole year on Grenada to make a film about the island to attract Russian investment. Russia is one of the most corrupt nations in the world, why would we pay to bring that here on top of what already exists? The film maker told me they were paid by the GTA and Grenada government.
He told me that La Sagesse only had one small hotel, yes, was my reply, that is all that was required to maintain the pristine beauty of the place. This film / video is currently on you tube.
Why does the government of Keith Mitchell see pristine as a call to destruction? This was the reason he gave for allowing and promoting this development.
As to the comment about this land being PREVIOUSLY privately owned, who owned the land when these developers bought it? I have seen comments about these other two developments in the Caribbean that are entirely negative.
Stop the destruction of the most important asset Grenada has its environment.
So I guess those trees will grow overnight then? You expect that this major destruction can just be easily fixed by pacifying the people to say you will plant trees?
You’ll not serious.