SABA - In a significant development for Saba, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has issued a permit for the construction of the highly anticipated "Black Rocks Harbor." This decision, made in response to an application submitted on July 19, 2022 by the Public Entity Saba, marks a milestone in the island's infrastructure development.
The duration from the submission of the application to its approval was extended, reflecting the collaborative efforts of Saba and the Dutch Ministries involved to exercise additional care in order to reduce the environmental impact. This entailed the implementation of comprehensive mitigation measures. Commissioner Bruce Zagers acknowledged that “the permitting process admittedly took longer than what was anticipated, however it was essential to ensure that we do it the right way the first time.”
“We are all excited to realize this project. It is the biggest single project in the illustrious history of our island. But because it is such a significant project, not only it terms of value, but also on the impact it will have on nature and the intricacies related with the design and the expected execution challenges due to weather conditions, rushing the project without proper planning is a risk not worth taking,” stated Zagers.
The permit, granted under the authority of Article 20 of the BES Maritime Management Act, paves the way for the development of Black Rocks Harbor, a project that has been long-awaited by both residents and stakeholders of Saba. Black Rocks Harbor is set to become a crucial addition to Saba's infrastructure. This new harbor will play a vital role in enhancing the island's accessibility, supporting economy, and facilitating smoother maritime operations.
The finalized project scope underscores the significance of maintaining Fort Bay Harbor as the primary cargo harbor while developing Black Rocks Harbor to cater to all other harbor users. The separation of cargo and small vessel activities will enhance navigational safety, and the new harbor will provide a more attractive and tourist-friendly landing point. Additionally, with food security in mind, the new harbor will allow an additional docking point for cargo vessels in the event that Fort Bay Harbor is damaged or inaccessible.
Access to Decision Documents
For those interested in reviewing the details of this decision, the opportunity is available until December 8, 2023. The documents can be accessed in-person during regular opening hours at the Security Desk inside the main Administration Building in The Bottom.
Public Entity Saba
Power Street 1
The Bottom, Saba
Stakeholders can send notice of appeal or objection in accordance with the BES Administrative Jurisdiction Act. For information about the content of the permit and the objection or appeal procedure, please contact Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta, Mrs. W.M.R. de Blaeij, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This accessibility is to help ensure transparency in the decision-making process, allowing residents and stakeholders to gain insight into the intricacies of the project.
As we look ahead, restoration efforts for Fort Bay Harbor will continue, with an anticipated completion date set for the conclusion of 2023.
Furthermore, in the coming year, we anticipate a significant focus on the Black Rocks Harbor project. The project permit will enter a review period spanning from October 30, 2023, to December 8, 2023. Following this review, the project will transition into the next phase, which entails the tendering process. The application period for tendering is projected to wrap up around June 2024, with all applications undergoing thorough evaluation for potential awards. Barring unforeseen delays, construction of Black Rocks Harbor is poised to commence in late 2024 to the early months of 2025.
This ambitious project represents a momentous stride toward a new era of connectivity and economic growth for Saba. Black Rocks Harbor's pivotal role in trade, tourism, and the overall well-being of the island is in position to bring about positive transformations.