Community Consultation needed on Grenada National Resort

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Summary of Concerns - Levera Hotel

The St. Patrick Environmental Community Tourism Organisation (SPECTO) is calling for continued consultation with the people of St Patrick’s as it relates to the development of a mega-resort in the north of the island.

Ground was recently broken for the construction of the Grenada National Resort, a 500-room hotel at Levera, close to an area that has been designated as a Ramsar Site. SPECTO, considered the main environmental and community tourism advocacy group in the parish. is concerned that the development will severely impact not only the rich biodiversity and ecosystem of the area but also have socio-cultural impacts on the communities

SPECTO is best known for the management of turtle tours which are used to help bring attention to the need for conservation of the endangered Leatherback Turtle. Levera Beach which is with the space where the hotel will be conducted is one of the few places in Grenada where the Leatherback Turtles nest from April to July annually. Grenada is one of three Caribbean islands where Leatherback Turtles nest.

Further, the Levera Pond and its wetlands is a designated a Ramsar Site (#2034), the only designated site in Grenada. Ramsar Sites are wetlands of international importance that have been designated under the criteria of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for containing representative, rare or unique wetland types or for their importance in conserving biological diversity.

Since its formation in 2009, SPECTO has been actively engaged in educating communities, particularly those in St. Patrick about the importance of conservation, especially related to the leatherback turtles, and our biodiversity and the sustainable development of the area. Its activities have included radio and television appearances, school and community talks, exhibitions, nature-based tours, and the hosting of the first ever climate smart exhibition in Grenada.

In 2016 a stakeholder analysis was conducted to document the ideas of community residents in St Patrick as it relates to the future of the area referred to as the Levera Planned Protected Area (LPPA). Eighty-one percent (81 %) of the persons interviewed advocated for the area to remain a National Park under protection.

Upon hearing plans about the planned development, SPECTO raised concerns about the impact of the development and called on the relevant authorities to ensure that a thorough Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) be conducted.

SPECTO understands that there is a fine line balancing between economic development and biodiversity protection. However, SPECTO also strongly believes that communities must be involved in development that affects their livelihood and survival. A project of this magnitude must take into consideration the hidden cost of tourism – the carbon footprint of travel and tourism activities, including construction and infrastructure upgrades; community displacement; overexploitation of resources (e.g., water, energy); and degradation of natural ecosystems and the cost of restoring them. The future of tourism development calls for tourism thats protect and preserves natural and cultural assets, mitigate adverse impacts on local economies and communities, and transform tourism into a driver of sustainable and inclusive growth.


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