Video: Citizens concerned about development encroaching onto Grand Anse Beach

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • 2 concrete structures approximately 17 feet from low tide mark
  • Physical Planning Unit to meet with developers
  • Site once occupied by vegetation and supporting ecosystems

The controversy surrounding the erection of 2 concrete structures at the construction site of the Silversands resort in Grand Anse, has caught the attention of the Physical Planning Unit.

This issue was brought to the fore by a concerned resident and business owner in the area who was appalled at the sight of 2 concrete structures being built approximately 17 feet away from the low tide mark.

According to the Physical Planning and Development Control Act Subsidiary legislation section 3, “The Authority shall not authorise any development closer than 165 feet (50m) from the high-water mark or on lands less than 10 feet (3m) above mean sea level, whichever is applicable.”

Opting not to speak on camera, Senior Planning Officer in the Physical Planning Unit, Fabian Purcell indicated that their office was not made aware by the developers of this additional structure. Therefore, the Physical Planning Unit will be in contact with the developers of Silversands to address this matter.

On Friday, NOW Grenada visited the area and got feedback from fisherfolk and users of the beach who expressed concerns over this recent development.

One of two concrete structures being erected near the low water mark along Grand Anse Beach

From the start, the project has received a lot of negative criticism especially from environmentalists, over the likely social and environmental impact the construction will have on the world famous Grand Anse Beach.

The 10.5 acre project site, situated within the hotel belt of Grenada, was once occupied by vegetation and supporting ecosystems which were later removed to commence construction.

Speaking as a concerned citizen, Randal Robinson expressed his frustration over the lack of consideration shown by the developers towards the local citizens who utilise that section of the beach. “To come on the Grand Anse Beach in 2018 and see walls being erected on the beach is quite troubling. We all know what the law says about building near the beach. You have to identify the high-water mark which is usually where the sand ends and the grass begins, and you still have another 50 metres beyond that to build. But to see that we have a project that has established boundary right at the high-water mark and then further encroaches with walls into the sand, has now become a worrisome development.”

Beach and mangrove erosion believed to be caused as a result of the Silversands construction

Although the Silversands developers Joyau Des Caraibes Limited commissioned Innovative Environmental Solutions on 1 September 2014 to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the resort project, longstanding Grand Anse resident Augustine “Foods” Andrews is convinced that the developers did not conduct a proper environmental impact assessment before commencing construction.

He said, “The beach is deteriorating, and I think the people who are constructing the buildings did not think twice about the impact this will have on the beach, especially that drain. Those engineers have that nearby drain too narrow and that cannot hold the volume of water coming from the nearby communities.”

Jomichael Levine believes that once the hotel becomes fully operational, the local fisherfolk will not be able to utilise that section of the beach. “I believe after the project is complete locals will not be able to use here as before because the tourists will occupy the beach and it will have laws and restrictions because the developers will want to protect their assets. But I am a fisherman, and if I am unable to hold fish in this area, we will have to move along somewhere else.”

Area resident Jefferson Augustine has accused the developers of attempting to taking over the beach. “The development is good. But here was swamp before, but now they are coming and take over the beach.”

NOW Grenada was made aware that a meeting has been set by officials from the Physical Planning Unit with the developers for Tuesday morning at 8:30 am.

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