Big Pond Set For Development
Nassau, The Bahamas – Nestled in the urban community of Big Pond is a shallow, clear body of water where ducks wade and red mangroves provide a habitat for birds and other species of animals. It’s a “hidden treasure” that’s little known to many Bahamians.
“It’s naturally beautiful without having to do much work to it and it’s a national focal point,” said Shanique Albury, environmental specialist assigned to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
“A lot of people know of Big Pond sub-division but they don’t know that it’s actually named after a pond, that still exists,” Ms. Albury said.
The Government’s Big Pond Park Redevelopment Project is set to restore and transform a nearly forgotten pond and 100 acres of surrounding parkland into an urban open space for public use.
Big Pond Park is a component of the environmental mitigation plan for the New Providence Infrastructure and Improvement Project. The pond is located between Tucker Road and Celery Drive.
When completed visitors will be able to enjoy miles of scenic trails, boardwalks, and children’s play and picnic areas.
“It will be visually interesting,” Ms. Albury said.
“We hope to install a boardwalk with a viewing point for persons who want to bird watch or look at the fish in the water similar to what Bahamas National Trust has done at Bone Fish Pond. It will be to enhance the experience so people can have a viewpoint that’s over the water and get closer views of wildlife.
“We don’t intend to do much to the water. We don’t want to disturb the sediments,” said Ms. Albury. “There has been some dumping and we intend to take up the things that are on the surface.”
Once established, Big Pond Park will be one of the most “accessible” natural areas in New Providence said Ms. Albury. “There will be lots of opportunities for people who reside and work in the area to take advantage of an additional feature that they did not have before.”
In 2010 The Bahamas Government signed a contract with C. H. Developers and Construction Ltd to conduct a land contamination investigation/study. The study will satisfy requirements by BEST Commission in light of the previous use of the site as a landfill.
“If this isn’t taken in hand, managed and turned into something productive such as Big Pond, the site will continue to be used for things that are negative from an environmental perspective. By turning this into an urban green space, people will be able to utilise it in a useful way and it will also help to discourage the negative things that are happening in the area.”
Ms. Albury described plans for the park as “visually” interesting.
The headquarters and office will be at the old Department of Environmental Health Services compound on Baillou Hill Road and a play area will be located in the property adjacent to Yellow Elder Primary School.
The trail system will lead with a short walk from headquarters to the main water body and on to the boardwalk.
“In phase one we will enhance the landscaping and remove a lot of debris. We want to take advantage of the fact that we already have an existing building and there is already some pavement. We’re going to build on that rather than doing a completely new operation. The building will be remodelled at a later time because we’re changing the use of it to suit the purposes of Big Pond Park.”
The existing parking lot will also be upgraded and improved.
By Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services