Category: Montserrat Created on Friday, 07 October 2011 08:12
Day one of a charrette on the future development plans for Little Bay opened with a clear statement from Premier Reuben Meade that Montserrat was looking to the future and planning to be a must visit destination for travellers.
In a presentation called “Montserrat: Past, Present, Future”, the premier gave the 60 persons attending a recap of life prior to the eruption of Soufriere Hills Volcano, what the present circumstances are and laid out a possible vision for Montserrat in 2020.
This vision includes Montserrat becoming a location for interactive learning, businesses that take advantage of the products extruded from the volcano, a series of intimate guesthouses which cater to high-end tourists and the island becoming a premium yachting destination.
Throughout the morning sessions, a series of presentations were given to show the visiting delegates about Montserrat today. Dr Paul Cole, director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) said that Soufriere Hills is in a paused state and has not stopped. However, added the northern portion of the island is safe from future activity based on the data gathered in the past 16 years. Cole said the risk to the north was one in one million.
Vincent Hippolyte, access coordinator and other officials from the Ministry of Communications and Works, looked at the challenges and plans so far for improving the transportation issues, and the development to date of Little Bay.
The coordinator said Montserrat’s present population of just over 4,800 cannot sustain its access needs and increasing the demand for travel to and from the island was critical.
Hippolyte said it was critical that Montserrat gets back a fast ferry to take advantage of the visitor traffic coming to Antigua and Barbuda. “A ferry would be the best means by which to bring people to the island for day trips. If we could increase the access to the island it would make it an attractive two for one option for Antigua to use to advertise holidays.”
Drusilla Bryan of brandKiss, a tourism marketing firm, shared her vision of Montserrat in which she said the island must stay true to itself and offer an unspoilt destination, with adventure tourism as its main selling point.
She said any hotels built should have between 50 to 100 rooms and be four-star quality standard with additional three-star cabin style accommodations in the surroundings.
Bryan also suggests that Montserrat should exploit its musical heritage and build festival and events, as they remain a very attractive option for travellers.
Heavy questions about insurance coverage in light of the potential for future volcanic activity were asked by visiting developer Duncan Moss. This concern was echoed by Walter Zepherin of Seventh Heaven Properties, who said developers would be wary of investing US$100 million in property on an island without assurances that it could be covered.
Financial Secretary John Skerritt said the issue of insurance was now a top priority of his team to ensure that it would not be a stumbling block to the development of Little Bay. Ripin Kalra of IMC Worldwide said other places in the world have dealt with insurance coverage in light of natural disasters and it was not an immovable challenge and could be overcome.
The visiting architects, marketing experts, developers and local stakeholders spent the afternoon in working groups to evaluate the present Little Bay Development plans and to critique them and propose new options. The Little Bay port is seen as a key component to driving economic activity for the island and the future development of the new town.
The charrette continues on Thursday looking more closely at Little Bay and sketching a new plan and suggested build out of sections of the new town.
Photo by FCO on Flickr
Follow Us On Twitter
Market Place Adverts
NO EXERCISE, NO DIET, NO PILLS FOR THE BODY YOU DESIRE Ardyss' reshaping garments were designed with superior quality and materials by our…