The Nevis Island Administration’s proposed pier at Mosquito is moving full steam ahead, a decision welcomed by the general community, with commercial and pleasure boaters overjoyed at the prospect.
The NIA proposed $5 million dollar pier is located at Mosquito close to the Oualie Beach Resort. The cost of the pier includes the purchase of lands at EC$3.5 million. The project is funded by a grant from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation.
The project calls for the construction of a new concrete pier. It will be suspended by steel piles filled with concrete. The pier will be 196 feet long and 16 feet wide .The intention is to allow for the growth of the sea water taxi between St. Kitts and Nevis and the birthing of pleasure boating in Nevis.
The pier was scheduled to be completed in August /September 2017 ahead of the opening of the Park Hyatt Hotel in St. Kitts but was postpone awaiting the completed Environmental Impact Assessment and public consultation. The proposal plans during the construction of the pier will lead to 60 new jobs, directly and indirectly, including engineers, architects, labors, material suppliers and so on.
The public consultation was held on Tuesday (February 6) at the Franklyn Browne Community Center in Camps Village. The packed auditorium saw residence, boater, hoteliers, Ministers of Government, environmentalist, and police officers amongst other person in attendance.
Jens Plaige of Seacure Marine Construction, St. Martin said that the concrete slabs that will be placed on top of the piles are currently being made in St. Martin and the construction will take between 4- 6 weeks to be completed.
Persons expressed their delight at the prospect of a new pier being constructed and the relief it will give the pier at Oualie Resort after many years of service.
Concerns that arose during the consultation were that of human sewage both on land and on sea, swimmers safety, air quality, noise pollution during construction and custom control.
Oral Brandy manager of the Nevis Air and Seaport Authority said that just like all other piers controlled by NASPA, Custom will be there. He noted that if customs is not at Oualie, boats coming from St. Martin or other island might be asked to dock at the Charlestown Pier to clear customs.
Speaking with the Observer following the consultation, Environmental Consultant Patrick Williams said the benefits far outweigh the impact so the project should proceed. He noted that the EIA study was commissioned to determine the potential environmental impact on the project and how they can be mitigated – reduced or totally eliminated.
Williams addressed that of air quality. He said that during construction there will be minimal impact. “Air quality concerns I think will be at a minimal. It will only be during the construction stage and that will be a short period,” he said.
He added that “there will be some noise during the driving of the piles but all of this is just at the construction phase.”
Williams said that when it comes to swimmers safety the area will be adequately marked.
In addressing a potential sewage problem Williams gave his recommendation. “A Sewage treatment plant would be adequate for a project this size, not a septic tank. With a sewage treatment plant you treat the water and when you release it, it would not have any negative impact on the environment,” he said.
He said that boats that are mooring at Oualie Beach and do not have a holding sewage tank will eventually create an environmental problem.
“If there is no holding tank on the boat then the waste goes straight into the ocean and over time that will become a problem. If boats are mooring at Oualie beach then it should have a holding tank,” he said.
He said where he sees there might be a potential problem is with the solid waste. He however noted that once the beach is cleaned and the Nevis Air and Seaport Authority and the Nevis Solid Waste do its part in keeping the beach clean, the issue of solid waste will be eliminated.
Williams pointed out that there will be no impact on the costal current because nothing will stop the sea from moving.
“There is no solid construction. Water will move between the piles of the pier so there will be no impact on the shore line and so on,” he said.
“The project was looked at in its entirety so we don’t just look at the environmental impact alone we look at the social impact and the economical impact,” Williams said.
He said that following the consultation they will now look at feedback and corners from both Planning Department and also those of the public and see how they will be addressed. “You have to satisfy planning’s requirement.” he said.
There has been no date set as yet as to when construction will begin however Deputy Premier and area representative for St. James said “it will be very soon.”