Joe’s Cay, Bahamas — Hope Town, a magical place that no one should take for granted. A place that should be preserved not exploited. Thinking of Hope Town makes the word synergy come to mind — A balance between safety and adventure — a place where Bahamians, second homeowners and tourists can cohabitate in a breathtaking environment. The development of Joe’s Cay threatens that synergy. Building and developing 19 homes on a peninsula of mangroves which support marine life and their breeding grounds would have a destructive impact on life in Hope Town. The economic benefits could never and would never justify the economic and environmental costs of such a development. Environmental: Turtles and other endangered species would lose their natural habitats. The development will have a tremendous impact on the wetlands and mangroves, trees and birds – all of which are essential elements in the delicate balance of White Sound’s eco-system. (Please refer to the copy of Abaco’s Life Abaco’s bountiful parks and preserves offer more than pretty playgrounds by Rhonda Claridge, Summer/Fall 2006, vol27, no 2.) Infrastructure: Nineteen homes built off shore would compromise the highly stressed day-to-day infrastructure of Hope Town. The community already struggles with issues such as garbage recycling and removal, sewage disposal, storm water runoff, flood management, water and power supply. Development of this property will only increase the demands on an already overworked infrastructure. It is irresponsible to heap more pressure on the community’s sanitation department, electrical company before they can improve performance and efficiency in Hope Town today. Economically- The local economy relies on the sea for its’ fishing industry. By building a development on an existing breeding ground for fish, conch and other forms of life the livelihood of local fishermen would become a casualty of over-development. Eco- tourism would also fall victim to this expansion and the eco-tourism niche is an important attraction to Hope Town. Hope Town should remain a shining example of conservation. The Preservation of nature and the environment will always be an asset to Hope Town. Historically- Clifton Cay was saved by a joint effort between concerned Bahamians and conservationists who saw value in saving over 600 acres from being developed as a gated community in New Providence. The new Clifton Park can be enjoyed by everyone and it is environmentally protected under an act by the Parliament of the Bahamas dated June 24th 2004. Now all people of New Providence have a well-protected and well-referenced historical site to call their own. It gives them a peek at their heritage and history, which just like the exceptional beauty of the island of Hope Town, is irreplaceable. In closing, conservation and preservation must be key elements in determining whether or not to build any new development. The Bahamian government must insure that the environmental health of the Bahamas is always the number one concern. The government must see the value in preserving Joe’s Cay, by protecting its most important asset: Land. Only then can the health of the Bahamas be insured. Only then will there be a future of sustainable living, vacationing and healthy and appropriate development in the Bahamas.

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