The historic Holland Bamboo Avenue in St. Elizabeth is being given a face-lift, by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Ministry of Agriculture and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Hurricane Ivan, which lashed the island in 2004, seriously damaged the bamboo trees, as did a number of illicit bush fires, resulting in a marked decline of the plants.
Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke, while on a recent tour of the Holland area, told JIS News that once the government was made aware of the state of the 4-kilometre stretch of bamboo, a decision was made to allocate the necessary resources to restore the avenue. “As you can see, much has been accomplished through the efforts of our various partner agencies. I have also given strong instructions to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to render any additional assistance that may required, as there is no doubt that this will redound to the benefit of future generations of both tourists as well as locals,” he said.
The Minister outlined the full scope of the on-going restoration project. “Our objectives include the replanting of existing species of bamboo along the avenue, and the cleaning and pruning of dead or dried bamboo as well as the removal of debris,” he said. “To date, we have planted 35 roots of bamboo and dug an additional 15 holes, which will shortly be planted. We have also cleaned and pruned about 70 per cent of the avenue.all the bamboo roots have been fertilized,” he added.
The Minister said he was confident that in a very short while the attraction would be brought back up to standard. “This avenue was established by the owners of Holland estate from as far back as the early 19th century and as such, it is a drawing card for many of our tourists. It is currently being maintained by the public gardens division of my ministry,” Mr. Clarke noted.