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  • The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has made two material changes to the proposed project for the construction of two breakwater structures to protect Negril’s seven-mile white sand beach.
  • Officer at the National Works Agency (NWA), which is the executing agency for the project, Krystal Lyn, said there will be no dredging of the South Negril River.
  • The changes came out of concerns expressed by residents and business operators at a meeting held on July 29, to present the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Negril Breakwater Project.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has made two material changes to the proposed project for the construction of two breakwater structures to protect Negril’s seven-mile white sand beach.

Officer at the National Works Agency (NWA), which is the executing agency for the project, Krystal Lyn, said there will be no dredging of the South Negril River and the staging area (construction campsite) will be removed after construction.

Ms. Lyn, who was addressing a public consultation at the Negril Community Centre on Monday, November 10, said the changes came out of concerns expressed by residents and business operators at a meeting held on July 29, to present the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Negril Breakwater Project.

The EIA was conducted as part of the NWA’s application to NEPA for a beach licence for the proposed construction and maintenance of the two breakwaters approximately 1.5 kilometres off the coast of Long Bay, Negril.

NWA Director for Technical Services, Roger Smith, informed that the issues that have been raised by residents along with NWA’s responses will be incorporated in the agency’s submission with a recommendation, to the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), which is the body with the sole responsibility for making the final decision. The technical merits of the project will then be deliberated on by the NRCA.

The Government of Jamaica plans to construct two offshore breakwater structures in the Long Bay area, so as to prevent future erosion of the Negril coastline. Surveys indicate that the white sand beach is eroding at a rate of 0.5 to one metre per annum.

Breakwaters are offshore structures of concrete or stone built to protect harbours and marinas from wave action and to help prevent beach erosion. The Negril project is expected to reduce erosive wave action, protect the coastline and allow for beach accretion.

A group of concerned hoteliers in Negril has joined forces with environmentalists, who have raised concern that the breakwater structures could affect the natural environment, and have proposed that beach nourishment be adopted instead.

Environmentalist and chairman of the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, Lenbert Williams, making reference to a Smith Warner 2007 commissioned  survey, stated that the best results could be had, combining the use of both breakwater and beach nourishment.

The NWA is giving the assurance that beach nourishment will be implemented, over the medium to long-term and that the breakwaters, which will be approximately

1.5 kilometres offshore, will be submerged, and therefore not visible from the beach.

The breakwater project is being undertaken as part of the Government of Jamaica (GOJ)/ Adaptation Fund Programme and will be implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in collaboration with NWA, NEPA, Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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