Stingray City should not be plundered

After reading the headlines of Tuesday’s paper about the floating bar that will be put in Stingray City, I can feel nothing but sadness.

Firstly, I’m disappointed that this decision was not taken to the public, so that they could express their views. After all, Stingray City belongs to us all as it is a part of our natural heritage.

Secondly, I don’t see how putting a floating bar in Stingray City will enhance it in anyway. The beauty of Stingray City is the fact that it is completely natural. It is a unique place in the North Sound where you can swim with stingrays in the wild. We live on such a small and beautiful paradise; we should be preserving and nurturing our natural treasures, like Stingray City, not turning it into a ‘Party with Stingrays City’.

Eco-tourism is an industry on the rise. If we want to enhance it, why not cater to the eco-tourism side of things, which is not only in vogue, but better for the environment. Speaking of the environment, has anyone thought of the negative effects of this floating bar? Even if ‘souvenir cups’ are used and there is a boat to facilitate a ‘clean-up operation’ the fact remains, it’s the ocean and trash floats away. And not everyone you serve a drink to cares where it goes.

I feel that putting a floating bar there, would not only have a negative impact on our unique North Sound eco-system but encourage irresponsible behaviour as well. Giving swimmers the opportunity to drink and get intoxicated in the water surrounded by stingrays could have negative consequences don’t you think? Not only is it dangerous to drink and drive but, I also believe it is dangerous to drink and swim with stingrays. An intoxicated swimmer could step on a stingray by accident and either cause the animal harm or be seriously injured themselves. I could go on with other ways drunken behaviour in this environment could go wrong, but I’m sure we can all use our imaginations!

Finally, the drinking culture on the Island is already substantial. Everywhere you go you can buy a drink at a bar. I have nothing against drinking, but I really do think it would be a shame to turn Stingray City into another ‘beach bar’. Visitors go to Stingray City during the day and it is a site that families and children cherish and enjoy. How does a floating bar enhance this atmosphere?

Instead, it becomes an inappropriate place for children to be around, like all bars are. It encourages drinking during the day, in a place where there is no shade, and can increase the chances of dehydration. Is there no good clean fun these days anymore? This unique and naturally beautiful environment will be ruined by a floating bar, which encourages the wrong atmosphere and behaviour for Stingray City.

It would be a shame to see it happen, not only for the people who enjoy its peace and nature but the stingrays as well. Protecting the stingrays and having their best interests at heart should be our priority. Has anyone thought about them? We should be promoting Stingray City as an eco-tourism site, a national treasure…not a spring break party spot.

Natasha Kozaily