The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, has awarded a contract to Landmark Practice to conduct a Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) study for the Pitons Management Area (PMA) World Heritage Site in Soufriere.
The LAC Study was one of the conditions set by the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in 2010 when it threatened to place the PMA on the List of World Heritage in Danger as a result of certain development approvals that had been granted during the period 2007-2010.
Unfortunately, this LAC Study was not undertaken, which prompted the WHC in 2012 to propose once again that the PMA be listed as World Heritage in Danger.
It was only after the intervention of the Minister for Sustainable Development, Dr. James Fletcher, at a WHC Meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and a promise by the minister to cause the study to be undertaken, that the PMA was spared. Therefore, the initiation of the LAC Study fulfills a promise made last year by the government of Saint Lucia to the WHC.
The LAC study is expected to provide the guidelines necessary to manage developments within the PMA and to provide the parameters to guard against activities that may potentially compromise the Outstanding Universal Value of the site.
In arriving at a short-list of potential contractors, the government received invaluable support from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The company that has been contracted to conduct this study is the United Kingdom-based Landmark Practice, led by Nick Roberts, who has over 30 years’ experience in landscape architecture and environmental master-planning.
His team of experts includes an ecologist, landscape specialists, urban planner, human resource and capacity development assessor, as well as a local physical planner and community liaison officer.
Landmark Practice has experience relevant to the Pitons Management Area. The company worked in the Wudalianchi National Park in China, which is also a volcanic site of world significance, in assisting with its bid for application to the World Heritage Committee.
Landmark Practice has also worked in the Jordanian Rift Valley near the Aijoun Castle, which is the most important natural and cultural asset and tourism attraction in the Kingdom of Jordan.
Similarly to what obtains in the PMA in Saint Lucia, Landmark Practice was required to examine the land-use conflicts and to prepare a planning framework that would guarantee the protection and enhancement of the area, while ensuring that local people also benefit.
The company is also familiar with Saint Lucia, having been involved in the conduct of a landscape analysis as part of the evidence gathering in preparation for Saint Lucia’s submission to the World Heritage Committee for the designation of the Pitons Management Area as a World Heritage Site.
The government of Saint Lucia is extremely pleased to have arrived at this significant milestone and sees the LAC study as the vehicle that will facilitate a balance between securing the integrity of the PMA and allowing residents, businesses and other stakeholders to maintain and enhance their livelihoods.
The LAC study will commence immediately and is expected to be completed within five to six months.