For me, the worst thing is the total lack of consultation with the community. Not even an attempt to do so. For that reason alone, I ask you to kindly sign the petition created by resident Marc Goodman regarding the destruction of the once lovely hillside above the Blue Lagoon (Blue Hole) beauty spot. It is here.
Some may say a petition does not have any impact, it is too late, etc. However, it is important to make one’s voice heard. If nothing else – protest! So please, do sign and share.
Mr. Goodman has petitioned the Chairman of the National Works Agency (NWA) to try and ameliorate the devastation of the once lovely hillsides – even though the damage has already been done. This is all in the name of the South Coast Highway Project. For this stretch of the road, as Jamaica Environment Trust has confirmed, no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done.
As Mr. Goodman points out, “Portland has wanted improved, properly-drained road surfaces forever.” Quite true; but that is not the point. Many rural areas desperately need better roads (not least, the farm roads, which are in deplorable condition). But with the horrible road-widening push, the NWA will not only be producing roads with good surfaces – but fast roads, allowing trucks, buses, cars to speed. Slower, safer traffic is needed in this area. Why not simply fix the road and leave it at that?
Mr. Goodman’s petition is asking the “powers that be” – including Senator Aubyn Hill, Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation at the Office of the Prime Minister – to hold a town meeting with local stakeholders, who have been completely ignored.
He is also asking for some small, inexpensive steps to be taken. Since the road will be wider, why not set aside five feet of the space for a walking/cycling path?
Why can’t retaining walls (which will be needed, since they have hacked down the hillside) be covered with vegetation, including the lovely hanging vines that have now been cut away but might be allowed to grow back?
How about humps in the road to slow the traffic?
Mr. Goodman is also suggesting that the NWA could improve the existing inland road alternative, which would also open up new tourism opportunities. (My thoughts on this are, if it is the road I am thinking of, damage has already been done to this beloved birding trail, with trees cut down all along the roadside).
By the way, if you want to see more damage, take a long look at Long Bay and Manchioneal further back to the east. The bulldozers and chainsaws have had a field day.
And yet, we are off to the Climate Change Conference to point fingers at the developed nations. What are we doing, on our little island, to keep climate change at bay? And what will we have left of our island, which is being rapidly concreted over?
The construction industry is apparently booming in Jamaica. Perhaps our leaders might keep in mind, as they hop on the plane to Glasgow, that concrete – and concrete production – is responsible for a chunk of greenhouse gas emissions, following on the heels of fossil fuels.
But as the politicians would say: “This is progress.” Unstoppable. Where else is ripe for exploitation?
Be careful, bulldozers may be coming to a green, beautiful spot near you.