The notice calling for public consultation on the proposed further expansion of Nygard Cay is meaningless in light of the government’s failure to release any of the relevant information, fast-growing social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays (STB) contends.
Attorney for the STB, Fred Smith, QC, praised what he called the government’s “small step towards increased transparency” in announcing a consultation period at all, but said his client cannot respond in time due to the complete lack of details about the proposal.
“The notice refers to various applications, yet no applications have been made available for inspection and it is not entirely clear what the nature of each application is, to whom it has been made and under what statutory regime,” said Smith in a letter to several government officials.
He asked that the government provide copies of all applications, supporting documents and relevant reports as a matter of urgency.
“…please do so by Tuesday, July 1, 2014, failing which and in any event, our client reserves all of its rights,” the letter said.
Smith also asked the government to confirm that no decision will be made on any application made in relation to Nygard Cay or the surrounding seabed without his client being given copies of all relevant documents and having adequate time to construct a meaningful response.
The letter, dated June 27, was sent to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works, Philip “Brave” Davis; Director of Physical Planning, Michael Major; and Town Planning Committee chairman, Wilshire Bethel. It was copied to several other senior officials, including Prime Minister Perry Christie.
STB was formed to protect the natural resources of areas around The Bahamas, including Clifton Bay, where there are concerns about the negative impact oil pollution from industrial facilities at Clifton Pier, and reports of unregulated development.
Under the former FNM government, Nygard Cay developer Peter Nygard was ordered to remove structures built without proper permits, and return the area to its original appearance. STB says there is no evidence any part of this order has been complied with.