The Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) have conducted extensive review on the controversial developments around the Blue Lagoon and have decided that the Beach Licence issued to the Developer was proper and complied with the requirements outlined in the Beach Control Act (1956) Beach Control Amendment (2004).
The NRCA/NEPA have investigated the concerns coming from stakeholders and notes that the
Developer has committed three breaches under the Beach Control Act (1956) Beach Control Amendment (2004) as follows:
· Three (3) pylons supporting a wooden structure (jetty) on the northern section of the property.
· One seawall constructed on foreshore and the floor of the sea along the southern boundary of the property in possession by Mr. Devon Wilson.
· Coastline modification.
· One seawall constructed on foreshore and the floor of the sea along the northern boundary of the property in possession by Mr. Devon Wilson.
and one under the Town & Country Planning Act, Tree Preservation (Blue Hole, Portland) Order, 1977:
– Felling and topping of trees from the area without permission from the Portland Parish Council
The Developer has been served summons and which are scheduled for mentioned in the Port Antonio Resident Magistrate Court on June 6, 2011.
The NRCA/NEPA is cautious since it can be argued that the Developer has a right to develop his property provided that such use is not prohibited by Law. It cannot be ignored that the NRCA does not have a right to prosecute for the development of land, save and except where it can be clearly shown that such development is illegal. To date there is little or no evidence that the creation of an artificial beach specifically as it relates to dumping of sand on the property resulted from or is associated with any illegal activity.
In addition, it is identified that six other property owners have been found to be in breach of the BeachControl Act (1956) Beach Control Amendment (2004) and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1945, in the Blue Lagoon area.
In summary, the NRCA recommends that the following critical path be pursued:
That the Developer be instructed to replant the trees. Such notice would be issued in the coming weeks.
That the Portland Parish Council (PPC) be reminded of its responsibility under The Tree Preservation (Blue Hole, Portland) Order 1977.
That the Agency works with alacrity (within four (4) weeks) to develop planning guidelines for the area. This would require external skill-sets and collaboration with the JNHT, PPC and property owners in and around the Blue Lagoon (JHNT had previously commenced dialogue on the matter along with other stakeholders).
That the Minister responsible for Culture place a Preservation Notice over the Lagoon and a defined buffer area to protect it from further development while the JNHT completes the process of declaration (see extract from the JNHT attached).
That the Minister responsible for Planning, issue a moratorium under Section 11 (3) of the Town & Country Act to restrict further developments in the Lagoon until item 3 is completed and a final determination issued .
That the legal proceedings are continued for the four (4) breaches under the Beach Control Act for which the Developer has been charged. (He was found to be in breach of his licence under the Beach Control Act and was served a summons for a floating platform and taken to Court. The multiagency site visit of 29 April 2011 identified three (3) additional breaches of the licence issued to the Developer. New summons have been prepared for those breaches)
That two of the NRCA support the CEO in handling media discussions.