Uproar over South Sound project

Radio talk shows buzzed with complaints Wednesday that a South Sound sub-division had filled an area near the shoreline without a costal works licence.

South Sound

Filling up to the seawall of this oceanfront sub-division in South Sound is nearly complete. Photo: James Dimond

Some callers erroneously thought the filling was taking place on part of the proposed Emerald Sound development, but developer Rene Hislop said that was not the case.

‘It doesn’t have anything to do with Emerald Sound,’ he said ‘It is a separate entity. Planning approved it from back in 2002.’

The sub-division, which has no name, is across South Sound Road from Emerald Sound. It consists of 18 lots on approximately 2,300 feet of ocean frontage.

Mr. Hislop said building the seawall was a requirement for planning approval and that filling up to the seawall was allowed.

‘There’s also a requirement to replant mangroves there,’ he said, referring to the area on the waterside of the seawall.

‘Everything that was destroyed by [Hurricane Ivan], I will replant.’

Because the filling was likely to cause complaints from environmentalists, Mr. Hislop said he notified the Planning Department prior to commencing the work last month. He also said the Department of Environment came to the site to see what he proposed to do and that they had no objections.

‘I’m not going to do something like that without all the necessary permissions,’ he said.

Efforts to have anyone at the Planning Department confirm that planning permission had in fact been granted on the waterfront parcels were not successful by press time.

Burns Conolly of the Burns Conolly Group, the company that is assisting with the development of Emerald Sound, said that project’s costal works licence had not yet been approved.

‘It only involves 100 feet of coastline,’ he said.

The development calls for a canal to be cut from the South Sound and across South Sound Road into Emerald Sound, which will consist of 82 house lots.

A bridge would then be built across South Sound Road. There is also a proposed to move South Sound Road inland slightly.

Both the planning application and the coastal works application have been submitted, but the planning application is held in abeyance until the coastal works application is decided.

Mr. Conolly said the initial meeting with the Department of Environment – to which the costal works application is first submitted – led to some questions that required further studies to be done by the developer. The DoE was asked to delay its recommendation report until the studies had been completed, Mr. Conolly said.

Once the DoE issues its recommendation report, the ultimate decision on whether to grant the coastal works licence is made by Cabinet.

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