STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE MELVIN M. TURNBULL
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
18TH OCTOBER 2022
DEVELOPMENT OF THE BEACH MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR LONG BAY, BEEF ISLAND
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to provide the House of Assembly with an update on the development of the Beach Management Plan for Long Bay, Beef Island, being led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour. Since the first round of public consultations in March when the Conceptual Plan was presented for feedback, the Ministry has been working towards drafting the Detailed Beach Management Plan, taking into consideration feedback received during the consultations.
Madam Speaker, the process has been detailed, involving execution of a public survey, field surveys, other data gathering and analysis, and multiple meetings and discussions among the Ministry’s technical team and the wider Technical Review Committee (TRC), which is comprised of all agencies relevant to beach management in the Territory. The Public Works Department has also been engaged in the development of engineering drawings and renderings to support the Plan.
The Plan is being developed on the basis of The Virgin Islands Beach Policy 2020 and is intended to be the first of other plans developed to better manage beaches in the Territory. Long Bay was prioritised given the high significance of this beach and the myriad of threats currently facing the beach. The goal of the Plan is to ensure that the beach environment and its enjoyment by residents is protected, while facilitating a level of sustainable tourism activity.
Implementation of the Plan would significantly improve current conditions at the beach, including ensuring restoration of the beach vegetation with an immediate focus on the sea grape tree line. The Plan would also deliver an improved picnic area, organized parking, enhanced facilities for commercial activities, introduction of a hiking trail and lookout deck, and enforcement of management measures to address issues of public concern, including noise pollution and littering.
Public Meetings were held on Tuesday 11th October virtually via WebEx, streamed via Facebook Live, and in person on Thursday 13th October at the East End Methodist Church. I wish to thank Ms. Angela Burnett-Penn for so ably spearheading the presentations as well as Mr. Mervin Hastings for his leadership within the team at the Ministry of Natural Resources. Members of the public and users of the beach took advantage of this opportunity to be involved in the planning process and their valuable feedback on the Draft Detailed Beach Management Plan will be used to make suitable updates.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry looks forward to approval of the Plan well before the end of this year and is actively seeking to ensure funding for implementation of the Plan during the course of 2023.