Commissioner of Infrastructure and Finance Bruce Zagers and the harbor project team provided an update on the Saba harbor project during a recent visit of Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitization Alexandra van Huffelen and a delegation of the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. The team presented the latest impressions of the design and explained the next steps to be taken.
In order to move the project forward, the Public Entity Saba wants to propose to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) to decide on the final project scope and to get permission to start tendering, so that a contractor can be appointed by the end of the year. Meetings are scheduled with the Ministry of IenW later this month when a delegation of the Public Entity Saba visits The Hague.
The final scope includes keeping Fort Bay Harbor as the main cargo harbor and developing a new harbor for all other harbor users at the Black Rocks. An assessment showed that with relatively limited investments, the existing cargo pier at Fort Bay could be upgraded to a future-proof and hurricane-proof cargo facility. The complete separation of small vessel/tourist activities from industrial cargo activities improves the (navigational) safety and will lead to a much more attractive and tourist-friendly Black Rocks Harbor.
Meanwhile, road works are progressing. The provisional road to Black Rocks is almost ready. The first part of the existing dirt road has been widened and a new section of the road was cut towards the new harbor area by Work Monster. Saba Roads started building a Saba-style rock wall along the provisional road. Paving of this road will take place after the completion of the new harbor, to avoid damage by construction traffic. A reforestation project is scheduled to start shortly. The first phase of this project will focus planting trees on the rock catchment benches that were created along the first part of the road.
To get an impression of the future development of the new harbor area, a draft master plan has been drawn up for the land-side facilities. This master plan describes which facilities are needed in the near and distant future for the various harbor users. The master plan also provides guidelines for the design of the harbor area and gives impressions of the desired architecture. The aim is to make Black Rocks Harbor an attractive, welcoming, user-friendly and safe harbor, integrated in the Saban landscape and architecture.
Stakeholders were consulted in the design phase of the harbor and the drafting of the master plan. Meetings were held with the local users, including fishermen, dive shop operators and the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF).
For the masterplan, meetings were also held with the safety partners (police, fire department), the Dutch Government Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, the Dutch Royal Marechaussee, several stakeholders within government such as the harbor master and the Tourist Bureau, as well as with the land owners in the Black Rocks area.