B-I-R-D

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Br-Island Responsible Development

B-I-R-D Mission Statement

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To preserve the unique cultural, historic, and environmental assets of Harbour Island (Briland) while promoting a strong and sustainable economy for the benefit of all island residents, now and for generations to come.

Who We Are

A large association of property owners, businesses, and residents of Harbour Island who are concerned with irresponsible development on the island.

Present Threat

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A planned community called the Briland Club would change irrevocably the character of the island we know and love. The scale of this threat has only recently become clear. As originally proposed by its California-based developer, the project on the grounds of the old Harbour Island Marina was to have consisted of a 28-room hotel, ten villas, and a large dock screened by mangrove trees. It was on this basis that the developer secured government approval in 2017. But the development has since grown massively in scope. Briland Club is now being marketed as a community of 83 private residences that would span the entire width of the island, from bay to beach, on 27 acres. The expanded plan (as advertised in the Spring of 2019) would include two clubhouses, a wellness center and spa, three restaurants, swimming pools, a 300-foot manmade canal, and a massive, breakwater-protected marina with docking space for 250-foot “mega yachts”—and far fewer mangroves. Even if yachts of that size did not require dredging a new channel in the harbor—an open question at this point —the marina inevitably would degrade water quality and sea grasses that are essential habitat for turtles and fish.

Moreover, the project would further strain the infrastructure of an island already suffering from acute shortages of water, power, and affordable housing (to say nothing of parking spaces in Dunmore Town). Though the government has yet to give final approval to the new plan, the developer appears to have confidence that it will do so, since he already is marketing the project as a fait accompli while touting its purported benefits to the local economy.

We understand as well as anyone the importance of jobs. But the economic benefits of short-term construction work will quickly fade, while the very qualities that make the island so attractive to visitors—and thus critical to its long-term economic health—will be irreparably harmed. We support smart, low-impact development that respects its surroundings and the environment. The Briland Club in its current form does neither.

Harbour Island is a special place, famous the world over for its pristine ocean beach, sparkling bay, and historic charm. Visitors flock here for the simple reason that it is NOT the mainland. They are drawn by its human scale and the breathtaking beauty of its natural environment. But now the same qualities that make the island so attractive as a tourist destination—and thus vital to the local economy—are under grave threat.

Truths

  • The original layout of the dock that was presented at the Harbour Island town hall meeting in November of 2017 is substantially different from the dock that is under construction now.
  • Work has begun on the Marina even though the heads of agreement and an environment impact assessment have not been publicly released.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments submitted in the fall of 2017 do not mention the use of steel for the sheet pilings for the dock, yet steel is being used, rather than concrete as originally planned.
  • The significance of using steel instead of concrete is steel rusts and to maintain steel, chemicals need to be applied every 5 years or so, clearly harmful to the environment.
  • The Briland Club originally promised to plant 5000 mangrove trees to mitigate environmental impact, this has been reduced to under 100.
  • EIA disallowed over water bungalows, yet the website was advertising a canal and overwater bungalows “subject to approval” at one time.
  • The Briland Club started advertising a 27-acre project prior to owning all the land and before full and official approval had been granted in for the added portion of the development.
  • Briland Club’s project manager changed his name from Gary Ross to Bernard Ross in 2016 and has several criminal convictions to his name.
  • Briland Club has not secured its power source in full.
  • Briland Club has not figured out how it will dispose of the waste.
  • Briland Club has not considered light pollution.

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