Beach Improvements For Saunders Beach
The Bahamas Government is continuing its efforts to redevelop Saunders Beach in the second phase of a restoration project. This phase comprises the expansion and reclamation of the popular recreational area on West Bay Street.
The initial phase included the installation of playground equipment, a parking lot, public restrooms and benches made of recycled casuarina wood. It also included replacement of casuarina trees with sea-grape and palm trees and landscaping.
Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant said, “The Government has moved on to the next phase of this project, which is the expansion and reclamation of Saunders Beach through construction of a series of whale tale groins to create sand cells that will be backfilled with sand.
“The replenished beach will extend from the western end all the way to just before Ferguson Road. There will be a minimum excavation of the rocky shore line along the eastern foreshore to facilitate the beach replenishment.”
He presented remarks at a Town Meeting on June 6 at Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort. In attendance was the Hon. Earl Deveaux, Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Hubert Minnis, MP for Killarney and Colin Higgs and Diana Lightbourne, permanent secretaries along with other senior government officials.
During the construction phase the public will be permitted access and use of sections of the beach. Public safety and security procedures will be in place during the improvement works, Minister Grant said.
“Saunders Beach recreational area will be a seaside park and picnic area that we can all be very proud of, providing recreation and fun for Bahamians as well as visitors to our shores.”
Dr. Kevin Bodge, a coastal engineer with Olsen Associates, Inc., said the project’s improvements incorporate about 2200 feet of shorefront.
“The sand fill would be of beach quality that means once placed it would be indistinguishable from the sand that exists at Saunders Beach now.”
“Some sand re-nourishment should be expected and perhaps repair of rock groins after particularly severe storms,” said Dr. Bodge.
“Despite the placement of sand fencing and vegetation, some wind blown sand and over-wash of sand on to the sidewalk on West Bay Street can and should be expected.
Construction is expected to take 90-120 days. There may be some interruptions for passing traffic to move through, but disruptions to recreational use of the beach would be minimised during construction.
Routine maintenance including litter removal and usual activities required to maintain a public beach are required.
Patrons to the beach would enter the sea in the usual way, however, with a 40-60 ft difference from the seawall.
By Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services