PRESS RELEASE – The Saint Lucia National Trust has begun the process of de-silting a major storm drain in Vieux Fort near Sandy Beach. This is in an effort to reduce threats to the coastline line within the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area (PSEPA).
The storm drain, which runs diagonally from the airport fence to the Sandy Beach shore line, had been clogged for many years. This activity will restore functionality to this infrastructure which is one of many serving as excess water relief points in the area.
Most of the extracted sand will be used to replenish sand dunes which suffered damage as a result of the Christmas Eve trough in 2013.
This initiative is one component of the project “Building Sustainability of the Coastal Communities of Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia and the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area (PSEPA)” being implemented by the Trust, with funding support by the United States Government through the Organization of American States (OAS) under the ‘Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean Project – Phase II’. The major objective of the project is to promote sustainability in all areas of community life within cities and other urban areas.
The Trust had heretofore been in consultation with stakeholders and concerned citizens on how to address the negative impact that unsustainable practices were having on the coastal zone within PSEPA.
Of particular concern was the Sandy Beach area, the integrity of which was being compromised by erosion due to sand mining, loss of natural vegetation, destabilization of natural sand dunes and increased vehicular incursions on soft sandy areas of the beach.
However, the consequences of these practices were not fully appreciated until the aftermath of the 2013 Christmas Eve trough.
The immense flooding coupled with weaknesses along the Sandy Beach shoreline resulted in severe damage to both the natural landscape and nearby infrastructure.
Jolien Harmsen and Cecelia Wiltshire of Vieux Fort (both members of the Trust) prepared a comprehensive report on the destruction observed at the site including future scenarios if remedial interventions were not pursued.
This report was circulated to all relevant agencies and generated much interest, concern and support for developing and executing preventative measures.
The Trust was also at that time developing a proposal to submit to the Organization of American States (OAS) under the scope of the earlier mentioned Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean Programme and thought it prudent to include activities which would address some of the challenges at Sandy Beach.
All works are being supervised by engineers from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport. The Vieux Fort South Constituency Council, SLASPA and the National Conservation Authority also provided institutional support for this activity which is expected to be completed by May 29th.
For more information on the on-going activity or the Building Sustainability of the Coastal Communities of Vieux Fort Project, please contact Mr. Craig Henry or Ms. Kina Nicholas at telephone 454-5014 or email [email protected]