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During her first visit to the Caribbean Netherlands in February of this year, the ambitious plan for Saba’s Black Rocks harbor was one of the projects presented to the newly-appointed Dutch Secretary of State for Kingdom Relations and Digitization, Alexandra van Huffelen. Local Commissioner of Infrastructure and Finance Bruce Zagers and the team working on the project provided her with an update on the development, including the latest designs.
Black Rocks project ready to take off
According to the team, the Black Rocks harbor project is ready to take the final steps of the preparation, which include the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management determining the final scope of the project and giving permission to set it up for tendering. This would follow the team’s planning of appointing a contractor before the end of this year. A draft masterplan has already been created to describe which facilities will be needed now and in the future, while it also presents a first impression of the entire project’s design and desired architecture.
The idea for the new Black Rocks harbor is to become the main harbor for all parties that do not use the major cargo harbor at Fort Bay. By converting the existing cargo pier there, the team will create a future-proof and hurricane-proof cargo facility at Fort Bay in order to separate the different types of naval traffic in the area. Once both harbors are completely ready for use, industrial vessels will make use of Fort Bay while tourist and other mostly non-industrial activities will take place in and around Black Rocks. This will not only lead to more safety on the water, but also to a much more attractive seaside destination for tourists at Black Rocks.
Eye on the surroundings
Considering the scope of the work that will need to be done at Fort Bay and Black Rocks, and the facilitating infrastructure work that is needed for the areas’ surroundings, it’s no surprise that it could all have a major impact on the environment. Fortunately, the team in charge seems to be paying attention to the environmental impact of the Black Rocks harbor plans.
Take the roads to Black Rocks, for example. It has already been decided that the provisional roads currently leading to Black Rocks will only be paved once the harbor project has been completed, so as to avoid damage by construction traffic. Despite the provisional status of the current roads, the reforestation part of the harbor project will be implemented from the start. Trees will be planted along the first part of the road to emphasize the project’s focus on sustainable construction with an eye for the environment.
It's also worth noticing that the local authorities and the Black Rocks team have taken their time to consult a wide array of stakeholders during the design phase of the project, including the SCF (Saba Conversation Foundation), local fishermen, and dive shop operators in the area. Besides that, meetings were held with various safety partners, including law enforcement and the fire department, and government stakeholders, such as the Tourist Bureau, the Fort Bay harbormaster, and the RVB (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf or Central Government Real Estate Agency).
The basis for this article was originally published on www.saba-news.com in March 2022.