US$25 Million Needed to Rehabilitate Negril Beaches

Approximately US$25 million will have to be sourced by the Negril Chamber of Commerce in Westmoreland, to effectively rehabilitate the seven miles white sand beaches of Negril, which have eroded progressively over the years.
This update was given on (Sept. 5), at a meeting held at the Couples Swept Away Resort in Negril, where a preliminary beach restoration report from the engineering firm, Smith Warner International Limited, was presented and discussed by a specially appointed 12-member committee and other stakeholders in tourism.
Committee Chairman and Director of the Negril Chamber, Daniel Grizzle said that the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) had approved the proposal for a study to find the most suitable solution to the problem, which would be implemented by the committee, with the possibility of international funding.
“If we allow the erosion to continue for the next 15 years or so, we will become a less desirable destination. We were voted some years ago as one of the world’s best beaches, we want to maintain that . it’s an asset not just for generating income, but as recreation for us as Jamaicans,” Mr. Grizzle emphasized.
He noted that studies have indicated that the draining of the nearby morass for vegetable cultivation was a mistake, hence the wetlands must be returned to their former state, in order to improve the water quality.
“While we are taking steps to replenish the beach, we will be focusing on what the scientists have been saying over the years that the morass acts as a filter for the water before it reaches the sea and the coral reef. The scientists have indicated that the first thing to be done is to return this to its wet condition and we will be focusing on doing this,” Mr. Grizzle said.
David Smith of Smith Warner International Limited, in presenting the study, indicated that the rate of which nature has been able to replenish sand that has been taken away, especially during storms, is not sufficient to compensate for this sand loss.
“We have looked at the beach erosion in Negril and are recommending a combined solution, which includes beach and sand nourishment and placing breakwater/artificial reef balls for reef reinforcements, which would cost in the region of US$25 million. This could be established over a phased 10-year period and would have a lifespan of some 50 years,” Mr. Smith said.
The Negril Chamber of Commerce will be discussing the proposals and approaching both national and international sources for funding, in order to commence the process of rehabilitation of the beaches.

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