Maracas Mayhem

This post was seriously delayed because I had to make sure I clearly and coherently expressed my views without going on an unstoppable chaotic rant.

Maracas Bay is one of Trinidad’s most famous beaches not only for its beauty but also for Richard’s bake and shark (D best on the beach). Imagine my surprise when I recently visited the beach and saw this.

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I was absolutely appalled, outraged, heartbroken, and frustrated.

What a complete an utter disaster !!!!!!!

What for ……

Development in the name of tourism?

What tourist would willingly want to stop and bathe here?

I honestly could not believe my eyes, the beach I love has been hideously disfigured by unsightly unfurnished concrete structures surrounded by galvanize and poorly planned construction.
The works on the beach we are seeing today comes as part of package 1 of the Maracas redesign and restoration project which entails:
  • The construction of the diverted north coast road and service road
  • The upgraded drainage and car park facilities
  • The construction of the two utility corridors

I, however, feel like we need to restore whatever it is that is currently taking place on the beach I refuse to call it development, it looks more like destruction.

Let’s start from the beginning in 2006 the Tourism Development Company applied for a certificate of environmental clearance ( CEC) for the construction of a central vending facility, new sewage treatment plant, re-alignment of the existing north coast road, placement of sand retention mechanisms and renovation of structures at Maracas Bay. The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) determined that there may be significant environmental impacts from this activity as such an environmental impact assessment is needed to properly identify, assess and mitigate potential impacts of the proposed development.

In 2007 the application was withdrawn and in 2008 a new application was made and the EMA determined that no environmental impact assessment was needed and the certificate of environmental clearance was granted.

HUH?????????

1+1 must be equal 5, is either that or something clearly not adding up

Did the environmental threats go poof??

Can someone please explain this to me because I really don’t understand.

What madness!!!!

I smell a rat and money but that could just be me.

This project encompasses a total area of 11 ha and an area of approximately 2.1 ha of land will be cleared in order to facilitate the realignment of the north coast road, the expansion of the car park and the construction of a new sewage plant but no impact assessment is needed. One was needed in 2006 but not in 2008 ….. ok cool!

 

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Loss of Wetland

 

 

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New North Coast Road

 

The Tourism Development Company stated that the development will not adversely alter the aesthetics of the area, as buildings will be designed to harmonize with the surrounding and derelict structures will be removed.

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HUHHHHH???????? if this is what harmonizing with the environment looks like I would hate for things to be in disrepair.

We are all aware of the many problems at Maracas Beach such as

  • flooding
  • traffic congestion
  • poor water quality
  • sand loss
  • parking
  • poor facilities

Whilst the project aims to tackle these issues we cannot ignore the environmental impacts and as a result of no impact assessment, there is no obligation to prevent and mitigate any environmental impacts.

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The Tourism Development Company wants to create a beach facility that is of international standards, achieving safe, hygienic, aesthetically pleasing modern environment. They are clearly on route to achieving this goal. Clearly !!!!

The displeasure with the works at  the beach has been expressed by many locals and tourists as they have stated that :

  • They have completely wrecked the beach
  • How does one go around all of this?
  • Do we need all of this?
  • This site is awful
  • I prefer to bathe at Las Cuevas, that beach is unspoiled by man
  • This is horrible

This is definitely not a good representation for not only our flagship beach but the jewel crown of Trinidad’s beaches.

I am in no way against the development of the beach and an upgrade, however, we cannot neglect the environment for the sake of the dollar.

No matter the nature of the project given its close proximity to the beach, the surrounding ecosystems and the extent of the project an environmental impact assessment should be conducted. Despite the talks that there have been alterations of the project whereby the road is presently being widened and not redirected the fact still remains that the environment cannot be neglected and solid evidence of these talks are yet to be identified.

When would we realise that we need the earth more than it needs us?

When would we start to development in conjunction with nature? 11 ha will be lost and not a tree would be replanted, not a green area or green concept incorporated into the development. We cannot be serious.

Wetlands have significant ecology and physical benefits that we are blatantly ignoring all in the name of tourism. When a public survey was conducted on this development 69% of the participants expressed great concern for the loss of wetlands and many proposed new routes for the road, however, this was ignored.

The beach honestly just looks like one big blob of unplanned construction with no clear goal or vision. We are witnessing package 1, and it needed to be broken down into phases, everything is taking place at once, moving slowly and it is not working in their favour.

I would love for an entertainment centre, a broadwalk, upgraded facilities etc but I would also love for the natural aesthetic of the beach to upheld as well as an environmental impact assessment to be conducted.

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This beach is beautiful but I am not sure if this is a redesign and restoration project or a demolition of the natural environment all for the sake of tourism. I am disappointed in the Tourism Development Company, in the Ministry of Works and Transportation and in the Environmental Management Authority.

This is not what international standards look like.

Let me reiterate I am not against the development of the beach, I am against the blatant disregard for the environment! We can do both and we need to start doing both because we need the earth more than it needs us!

 

maracas beach

 

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  10 comments for “Maracas Mayhem

  1. Anonymous
    August 28, 2017 at 3:27 am

    A good read, and i couldn’t agree more… well i could ehh, but the saying goes i couldn’t soo.. For the longest while i have abstained from bathing at Maracas, and more so i see no reason to even stop there, whether it is the unsightly pollution that riddles the place or the disgusting concrete structures that are being dropped on the beach itself, Maracas has little to offer me. I’ll quicker hike to Paria than to visit Maracas. As for Richard’s bake and shark being the best….. Richard has nothing on Patsy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. August 28, 2017 at 3:54 am

    my last few times going there had me so upset after seeing that absolute eyesore. It’s really embarrassing…why do we always think development and progress means concrete and more concrete…preserve our damn beautiful beach! Improve the existing facilities and let the damn beach BE. Why we gotta do TOO much… Excellent read!!
    And yes I agree, quicker go buy a bake n shark at Maracas then head over to Las Cuevas or another one of those unspoiled beaches on the North Coast

    Like

  3. Anonymous
    August 29, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Have not been for awhile and can’t believe what I am seeing. Our beautiful beach 😱😭

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony Henderson
      August 29, 2017 at 5:43 am

      It’s quite awful to see Maracas Beach in this state now. I was talking to one of the contractors and he told me that the last goverment had wanted the road to go in the back of the present car park but they found that the land was not strong enough to have a road built on it and they decided to redirect the road. I AM seeing from your map now something else. I really don’t know what to believe now. It looks dam bad at present. I swim at Las Cuevas most of the times. Sometimes twice a week. What I like with Las Cuevas it’s a long beach and you can go for a long swim.Las Cuevas is a 5 Star beach and Very well maintained.

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      • August 29, 2017 at 7:35 am

        Hmmm interesting that they wanted to redirect the road thanks for pointing that out to me however, I didnt find that info at the documents housed at the EMA but paper and reality maybe 2 different things. Only time would what the real plans are.

        Like

  4. Simone
    August 31, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    The road is being widen not moved. The carpark will be bigger. As for the wetlands they will not be touched anymore. The road ain’t being moved.
    The authorities are trying to provide without disrupting. The vendors have been moved from the car park and the booths that have been halfway built are being completed for them.
    Why not speak about the shack that is in the middle of the new carpark. It seems as though the people ain’t moving.
    How are we to develop as a nation when all we do is try to stop it in some way for our personal good

    Like

    • Paige Andrew
      August 31, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Not sure anyone is trying to stop ‘development’..as she says in the article, it’s about the consequences this so called development can have on the environment…”Let me reiterate I am not against the development of the beach, I am against the blatant disregard for the environment!” Sustainable development is a thing..we can’t just ignore the effects this ‘development’ will have on the environment…that’s not wise…how are we to truly develop as a nation if all we do is build things willy nilly with no true plan, no care for the impact on the environment?

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  5. Denis Laing
    September 1, 2017 at 11:55 am

    An embarrassment and affront to our nation, why are we so hell bent on destroying our national heritage. And the next one to go will be No man’s land in Tobago. Wake up T&T, Maracas bay will now be relegated to a has been, the new destination would be Las Cuevas, …………………… and do not allow anyone to mess this one up.

    Like

  6. September 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Great read. Thanks for putting it out on the open for those who don’t know of this tragedy.

    Like

  7. Marylou
    September 2, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    This was eloquently put. I was at that beach recently and thought why was the roads looking in such a mess. Holes everywhere. I was in shock because believe it or not it was my first time to that beach. My son wanted to take some pictures to expand his portfolio. So I took the oportunity to get some bake and shark. The food was really good. but the environs, a mess. For a first timer to the beach the site was a little dissapointing.
    Keep doing your part to shed light on our beautifull island and what is being done to it.
    A beautiful and enlighting article. Keep up the good work.

    Like

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