Saunders Beach Redevelopment Brings Major Improvements

Monday 20th, December 2010 / 08:25 Published by

Seagrape trees on Saunders Beach Some of the Seagrape trees recently planted to improve the landscaping at Saunders Beach. (BIS photo/Letisha Henderson)

Nassau, The Bahamas – The Government’s plans to redevelop Saunders Beach are progressing and residents are already enjoying the scenic beachfront recreational area.

The aesthetic improvements, including realignment of the beach parking, are a part of the New Providence Transport Programme one of four major components that fall under a loan agreement between the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The components include the New Providence Road Improvement Project, the development of the Big Pond Park, and a Routine Maintenance Management System and the formation of the Transport Planning and Policy Unit.

Shenique Albury, environmental specialist assigned to the New Providence Road Improvement Project in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said public concerns about erosion of the beach following the removal of the casuarina trees and the dredging of the harbour have been subdued and the Ministry is now receiving compliments on the improvements.

With most of the major construction and the harbour dredging substantially completed, Albury said Saunders Beach is a completely different picture as the beach has replenished most of the sand that had eroded.

“Sand is moving all the time although we don’t notice it with our natural eye,” said Ms. Albury.

“The wind picks it up and carries it; the waves bring it in and wash it out all the time. It is a natural cycle. It’s normal to see when there are very strong winds and rough seas it has a tendency to erode. When the wind dies and the waves are gentle it has the reverse effect.

“Based on what we’ve done at the beach in terms of moving the casuarinas we don’t think there is any long term negative impact on the amount of sand and the sandiness or rockiness of the beach as a result of our project,” Albury added.

Landscaping  The matured seagrape trees that were installed on the beach in June to replace the casuarinas have done “very well” Ms. Albury said.

The casuarina trees were removed earlier this year to assist the Government in its efforts to control and eradicate invasive species in The Bahamas.

“We are quite pleased with the way that they have adjusted to the new environment. All of the trees have survived without disease. We have not seen any signs of them being unhealthy. We expect them all to survive and flourish. Next year they should produce new leaves and branches and provide more shade.”

“The seagrape trees have not begun the obvious “fast growth” yet they have been providing shade since placed there. We’ve seen people utilising the area since the trees have come in. People drive by or use the parking area on lunch break and weekends so the trees have a positive impact environmentally and a social impact for people using the beach. We’re happy about that,” she said.

The seagrape trees are maintained through a watering and fertilisation process by the Enviroscape firm.

Ms. Albury revealed that there are plans for early next year to continue the landscaping of Saunders Beach with seagrape trees and additional shrubs, coco plums and others to give the area more of a green field.

“It’s going to make the entire Saunders Beach have a complete landscaping effect,” said Ms. Albury.

Furthermore, benches similar to those presently there will extend the entire length of Saunders Beach. The benches will be handmade by Antonius Roberts out of reclaimed casuarina wood.

“We are using the casuarinas to construct the benches to show those who were “attached” to the trees that we did not quite get rid of them, said Ms. Albury. “Some of the wood is being used for something people can enjoy and we’re placing the benches all the way to the end of the beach.”

A children’s playground facility will also be added to the empty space on the western end of Saunders Beach.

By Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services

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