Plans for 19 new homes and a man-made beach bordering the marine park in George Town have been given the go-ahead by the Central Planning Authority.
The plan from Coriander Development Ltd. is the latest project to be approved for the site on South Church Street.
Planning officials first approved a project for 42 apartments at the location in 2000. The project stalled but has re-emerged this year as a housing development, with communal pool and beach.
Papers from the Central Planning Authority meeting last week indicate an estimated $19.5 million budget for the project but give no indication of the size and likely cost of the new homes.
In its submission to the Central Planning Authority, Coriander states, “Even though the lot is zoned for beach resort/residential, allowing for a larger development with higher buildings and greater density, the developer has opted to develop a project of single family homes, which is more in line with the surrounding communities ….
“We believe our development would be an enhancement to the neighboring community, while keeping in line with the density of existing projects around it.”
The project was approved despite concerns from the Department of Environment, particularly regarding the creation of a new beach.
The department expressed concerns that wave action in the area would cause sand from the beach to wash onto the reef, affecting coral in the marine park.
“Given the shortage of natural beach sand on the island and the wave climate in this location, the department is concerned that the creation of an artificial beach in this location is unsustainable,” the department wrote in its analysis.
“The sand is highly likely to wash into the sea and need to be re-nourished on an ongoing regular basis. This raises concerns with regard to finding a source of beach quality sand and the creation of sedimentation and turbidity within the Marine Park arising from sand washing into the sea.”
The department indicated that other artificially created beaches in the area are already causing similar problems.
“The issues surrounding this are most notable from the Casa Luna development on South Church Street which resulted in chronic sedimentation in the Marine Park and resulted in numerous complaints from the public and water sports sectors,” it states.