Protect South Abaco's Ecological & Cultural Resources from Large-Scale Development

Protect South Abaco's Ecological & Cultural Resources from Large-Scale Development

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Sustainable South Abaco started this petition to The Most Honourable Hubert A. Minnis (Prime Minister)

Prime Minister Minnis, say no to large-scale development that will destroy important historical, ecological and cultural resources in South Abaco.

Abaconians, fellow Bahamians, and friends from all over the world, please unite with us in our effort to protect historical, ecological and cultural resources along Soldier Road at Southwest Point and Lantern Head near Hole in the Wall in South Abaco. We are calling on the Government of The Bahamas to protect this area from the proposed high-density Tyrsoz development. 

The proposed development includes paving the road from the highway to the lighthouse and to both developments, 3 hotels, 50 estate lots, 80 residential lots, employee housing, a medical clinic, and an 18 hole golf course at Lantern Head, as well as a water park, a marina village and an inland 136 slip mega-yacht marina dug from the land at Soldier Road. The Sandy Point airstrip will house a private fixed base operation (FBO) facility and the runway will be lengthened to facilitate private jets. When completed, most of this development will be private and off limits to Bahamians.  Therefore, it is counterproductive for the Government to allow high-density development on Abaco that destroys the land and excludes Bahamians.

Both sites contain historic ruins of standing buildings, stone wall carvings and remarkable artifacts.  Lantern Head ruins, circa 1820, predate emancipation and the settlement of Alexandria, circa 1836, was established during the building of the Hole in the Wall lighthouse along with Soldier Road that was constructed to connect the lighthouse to the Alexandria settlement at Southwest point.  Both sites are listed on the Bahamas National Register of Historical Sites.  The developer has no plan to protect these historical sites. Therefore, it is counterproductive of our Government to allow destruction of our history instead of preserving it.

The proposed sites of the development, Lantern Head and Soldier Road at Southwest Point, are ecologically sensitive areas that have been recognized internationally for their significance. The most iconic resource to be negatively impacted by development is the Abaco Parrot which is endemic to Abaco and is the only ground-nesting parrot species in the world.  Just 10 years ago they were facing extinction but thanks to conservation efforts and habitat preservation in South Abaco their numbers have been restored to sustainable levels. The Kirtland's warbler is a small songbird endemic to Michigan that was nearly extinct just 50 years ago but has experienced some population recovery because of years of conserving their nesting habit. Research has revealed that one of its important wintering areas in the Bahamas is on Abaco in an area that is limited to a two and a half mile radius of Soldier Road. Destroying more than a thousand acres of prime foraging ground in South Abaco for these two conservation-reliant bird species would be devastating to their continued survival.  Therefore, it is counterproductive to sustainable resource management for our Government to allow the destruction of critically important green land coppice.

Equally important is the large fresh water lens and groundwater that will be at risk of contamination from waste water and golf course chemicals, as well as salt water intrusion during excavation for the marina. The ocean waters surrounding the southern tip of the island are home to resident dolphins, whales, commercial scale fish and corals, as well as known spawning sites for the culturally and economically important bonefish, mutton snapper and the iconic Nassau grouper. Given that fish travel from throughout Abaco to reach these spawning sites, negative impacts to these sites will have broad-scale effects. The Nature Conservancy, The Bahamas National Trust and the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), as part of the Bahamas Protected project, have recommended these ocean waters for protection with the expansion of Cross Harbour National Park.  A marina, increased boat traffic, increased numbers of anglers and fishing pressure on limited resources will directly compete with local commercial fisherman, bonefish guides and fishing lodges.  Therefore, it is counterproductive of our Government to ignore sustainable resource management and fiscal responsibility to their citizens by approving large scale foreign development in this area that should instead be protected by expansion of Cross Harbour National Park.

We are not opposed to sustainable development in South Abaco, but the Tysroz project will lead to irreparable damage to the ecology and history of South Abaco while risking the livelihood of generations of Bahamians that rely on these resources.  

Please unite with us in signing this petition to inform Prime Minister Minnis that you are opposed to large-scale development in South Abaco and ask him to say NO to the Tyrsoz development proposal.

Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association
Abaco Lodge
Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation
Bairs Lodge
Bonefish and Tarpon Trust
Caroline Stahala, PhD - Bahama Parrot expert
David S. Wilcove, Ornithologist and Conservation Biologist
Delphi Club
Fisheries Conservation Foundation
Friends of the Environment
Islands by Design

 

 

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!