NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Residents of the South Ocean Village community have decried the lack of public consultation over Albany’s proposed development of the former South Ocean Hotel & Golf Course property and its potential impact on the community.
Ronald Jones, president, South Ocean Village Association, said yesterday the South Ocean Village community welcomes the proposed development as the former South Ocean Hotel & Golf Course property that has been idle and ugly for years.
The site has been closed since 2004 and was owned by the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP).
Albany’s phased redevelopment of the South Ocean site will reportedly involve the demolition of existing structures on the South Ocean property and the construction of a clubhouse, condominiums, amenities and beachfront lots.
“We, the members of the South Ocean Village Association and the residents of the South Ocean community, decry the breach of usual, customary and legal public consultation with local community stakeholders practice in The Bahamas,” said Jones.
“There has been no public consultation with the residents of the South Ocean community by the developer as has been and is the proper usual and customary practice. We were not afforded this courtesy by the developer. Instead, we have been notified of the Albany West development surreptitiously by a recent newspaper advertisement by the Department of Physical Planning.”
Jones said the association wrote to Prime Minister and Killarnarney MP Dr. Hubert Minnis roughly a year ago when rumors surfaced of a possible sale of the former South Ocean Hotel & Golf Course properties.
At the time, the group requested that the community be included in the considerations of any development for the property and not be disadvantaged.
Jones said the association has not received a response to its letter, to date.
Residents of the South Ocean community have enjoyed historic and unfettered access to South Ocean Beach and want an assurance that such access will be protected, he said.
The association is also seeking to confirm that there will be no diversion of South West Road, as it believes that any such road diversion will detrimentally affect the residents of the South Ocean community and is not necessary.
Jones said: “We are aware that a BPL (Bahamas Power and Light) fuel line traverses along the southern perimeter of South West Road in the vicinity of the captioned project transporting fuel from VOL Clifton to BPL Blue Hills. We are extremely concerned with the potential for a breach of this fuel line due to the captioned project commencing an environmental disaster in our South Ocean community, affecting our water table and wildlife in our tranquil community.
“Kindly confirm what precautions are being taken to reinforce the said fuel line and its environs to ensure no breach of the said fuel line and which independent agency will be engaged to inspect and prevent such a disaster. We do not wish to be affected by a fuel breach and then the later attempts at spillage containment and cleanup with irreparable damage.”
Area residents are also concerned about noise pollution, security, traffic and drainage, the sewerage system as well as plans for the future development of the remainder of the property.
Calls and emails to Christopher Anand, Albany’s managing partner, were not returned yesterday.