“Robust” Conditions for the Granting of a Permit for Duncans Bay from the Office of the Prime Minister


My previous post addressed the concerns of many (including local residents) about the sand mining issue in Duncans Bay, Trelawny. In response to these major concerns, Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted the full conditions for the granting of a permit, which the National Environment and Planning Agency had previously denied. I am sharing these conditions, which we understand (and hope) will be strictly adhered to, below. Note #30 – 35 regarding turtle nests.

Duncan’s Bay citizens are angry and suspicious. Read these placards. (Photo: Facebook)

Were the citizens (and this is a rather upmarket area, with the Silver Sands villas nearby) properly consulted? Does the developer still have plans for a building development (hotel?) in the area at some point? Some ten years ago his company Amaterra had plans for a mega-resort, including a casino etc. Where is the sand to be “skimmed off” going, one wonders.

Please note that sand mining activity has been going on since 2014, and the citizens – and the environment – have been suffering. Gleaner photo of sand mining at Duncans Bay (see my blog post of January 26, 2014).

By the way, the developer is Mr. Keith Russell, businessman and former Jamaica Labour Party Member of Parliament for North Trelawny; sand mining has been happening in the vicinity since 2014. Read more here.

Let us watch closely, and see. Meanwhile, listen to this interview on Nationwide News Network here. This will fill you in on a lot more background to this story. The interview is with NEPA’s Peter Knight and Anthony McKenzie, the Citizens Association and the Jamaica Environment Trust’s Diana McCaulay.

My final, ironic thought is this: Can the Government really assure us all that it is concerned about climate change (and in particular the impact on our coastlines) while at the same time allowing a businessman with “connections” to dig up a beach, threatening nearby wetlands, endangered marine life and waterbirds that make it their home? May I remind the Government and the developer that our sea turtles are endangered species (all the species are) and all are protected by law?

According to the Duncan (sic) Bay Community, Trelawny Facebook page, “This is the quarry operation (noise/dust nuisance) that is set up on Lot #226 a designated Green Space in the heart of our community.”

The following specific conditions are attached to the permit and must be upheld:

  1. This permission is for the mining of no more than 1500 cubic metres of sand from the designated area.
  2. The mining activity shall not exceed an excavation depth of 0.5 metres.
  3. The site from which the material is to be removed is to extend for approximately 300 metres parallel to the coastline.
  4. The description of the area from which sand is to be mined is as follows: No mining is permitted between 0 – 5 metres from the High Water Mark; Mining is only permitted between 5 – 15 metres from the High Water Mark; Mining shall not exceed a distance of 15 metres from the High Water Mark.
  5. Pursuant to specific conditions 2, 3 and 4, Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall submit geo-referenced coordinates for the mining site to the Manager, Enforcement Branch of the National Environment and Planning Agency at 10 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5 or by email: EnforcementManager@nepa.gov.jm and the Mines and Geology Division prior to the commencement of the mining activity.
  6. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that mining/quarrying of sand is restricted to the area for which the mining licence from the Mines and Geology Division has been granted as well as the area described within this permission.
  7. The mining activity is to be executed by a process of skimming of the surface and is to be performed under the direct supervision of officers from the National Environment and Planning Agency and the Mines and Geology Division. Towards that end notification must be provided of the date and time of the commencement of works and the projected schedule of works to facilitate this monitoring.
  8. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that no sand is removed from the foreshore of the property.
  9. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that the vegetation to be impacted is removed and stored for replanting.
  10. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that there is no clearance of vegetation cover outside of the boundaries stipulated under the mining licence and with regards to this permission.
  11. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that the area is rehabilitated immediately upon completion of the mining activity including, but not limited to, the re-use of the impacted vegetation to the satisfaction of the National Environment and Planning Agency and the Mines and Geology Division.
  12. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall provide written notification to the Manager, Enforcement Branch of the National Environment and Planning Agency at 10 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5 or by email: EnforcementManager@nepa.gov.jm and the Mines and Geology Division, of the proposed date for the commencement of rehabilitation works at least one (1) week prior to the start of these works.
  13. All vehicles, equipment and machinery are strictly prohibited from traversing the Duncans Bay residential community. The developer shall find other means of access to the west of the site.
  14. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that access to the property is provided by way of the existing road to the west of the site, which runs along the previously licensed extraction area. There should be no truck access along the beach east of the subject mining area.
  15. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that caution signs, warning oncoming traffic of trucks entering and leaving the mining site, are placed at a safe distance as approved by the relevant authority.
  16. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall cover all materials during transport to prevent the generation of fugitive dust.
  17. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall wet road surfaces and stockpiles to prevent the generation of fugitive dust during the period of mining.
  18. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that there is periodic sprinkling of the area to reduce fugitive dust emission.
  19. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that materials including soil, sand and marl are termed and stored away from surface drainage channels and features.
  20. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that under no circumstances is there any encroachment within the marshlands/wetlands located on the property as a consequence of the project.
  21. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that the noise level during operation does not exceed 85 dB  at the boundary of the site.
  22. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that work is carried out between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays . There shall be no work on weekends and Public Holidays.
  23. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that the natural drainage of the site is not negatively impacted.
  24. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that under no circumstances is silt allowed to be discharged into the adjacent marine waters as a consequence of the project.
  25. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that there is adequate provision of toilet facilities for the use of the work force. These facilities shall be in the form of portable units (chemical toilets).
  26. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that the sewage from the portable chemical toilets is collected and treated at an existing approved sewage treatment facility.
  27. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that all workers are equipped with adequate personal protective equipment.
  28. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that there is no discharge of waste, including but not limited to sullage, oily waste or chemicals, construction debris or any poisonous noxious or polluting matter into the ground of the marine environment as a consequence of the activities.
  29. In the event of an incident, Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall submit a written report to the National Environment and Planning Agency at 10 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5 or by email: EnforcementManager@nepa.gov.jm within two (2) days of the incident.
  30. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that there is no disturbance of any turtles or their nests as a consequence of the activity.
  31. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall notify the Duncans Bay Citizens Association and NEPA of the schedule for the mining activity so as to ascertain the areas where turtle nests are located and any other concerns.
  32. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall not mine in proximity to any reported/identified turtle nest.
  33. No mining activity shall be undertaken during the (peak) turtle nesting season June – November.
  34. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall identify, remove and replace any found turtle eggs from the nests prior to and subsequent to the mining activity.
  35. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall engage the services of a qualified and known professional(s) who has/have the experience in handling turtles, their nests and eggs. This person(s) should have experience locally.
  36. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall engage the relevant professional(s) to conduct the post permit monitoring in order to ascertain rate of replenishment. The monitoring reports shall be submitted to the Manager, Enforcement Branch of the National Environment and Planning Agency at 10 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5 or by email: EnforcementManager@nepa.gov.jm monthly thereafter for a period of twelve (12) months.
  37. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall conduct a public consultation/sensitization with the citizens of the area and other stakeholders in order to ascertain and clarify all the issues and concerns regarding the proposed mining of sand at the “East Quarry” site prior to the commencement of the mining activity.
  38. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall maintain a Complaints Register at the location. The Complaints Register should contain a log of all written and verbal complaints that specifically refer to concerns associated to the permitted facility. The log must include a record of the Permittee’s actions to investigate the validity of each complaint and a record of actions taken to address each complaint.
  39. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall ensure that under no circumstances should any future sand mining activities occur at this location without the express written approval of the Authority/Agency and the Mines and Geology Division.
  40. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall apply to the Authority for an Environmental Permit and/or License pursuant to Sections 9 and 12 of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act for any subsequent development on the property in accordance with the Natural Resources Conservation (Wastewater and Sludge) Regulations, 2013; Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Air Quality) Regulations, 2006; Natural Resources Conservation (Permits and Licenses) Regulations 2015 and Natural Resources (Prescribed Areas) (Prohibition of Categories of Enterprise, Construction and Development) Order, 2015.
  41. Duncans Bay Development Company Limited shall comply with any other statutory obligation and shall apply for and obtain any other permission, certification, permit or license. These include but are not limited to Building Permission under the Building Act and Planning Permission under the Town and Country Planning Act.
A protest by Duncans Bay residents this week. (Photo: Facebook)

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