Monday, January 15, 2007

Plan for $3b offshore island hits snag

by Richard Charan
Trinidad Express
January 15, 2007

If government's energy experts get their way, a 14 -square kilometre island will emerge off Trinidad's south-west coast.
It will be bigger that all five of the Gasparee Islands combined, and span three kilometres of coastline between Mosquito Creek, La Romaine, and the Aripero wetlands, near La Brea.
The island will jut five miles out to sea and linked by a road leading to the mainland.
But 14 months after the National Energy Corporation (NEC) made an application for a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) from the Environmental Management Authority, the $3 billion project appears to have stalled.
The EMA requested further information from the NEC about the scope of the work proposed before the application is considered, according to EMA documents.
Up to last week, the company had not submitted the information requested by the EMA.
The Express could not contact the EMA's communication officer Alicia Charles yesterday.
In a Christmas Eve address to the national last month, Prime Minister Prime Minister Patrick Manning said plans for the controversial aluminium smelter at Chatham, Point Fortin were virtually scrapped and said "instead, we shall accelerate development of a new industrial estate offshore Ohateite Bank from which aluminium production can now be pursued together with other industrial plants". In the EMA's letter acknowledging the NEC's application, it was stated that the required infrastructure and utility development included "Corridors for tenants, cause way link from the coast to offshore reclamation, utilities for industries and drainage to be provided as part of the requirement for developing site and accommodating heavy gas based industry".
The NEC also gave details on the preparation of the site, the amount of material to be used, and how it intended to limit damage to marine life during the five- year development.
The NEC stated in its application that it was mandated to to pursue the development by the Standing Committee on Energy.
The EMA has asked for a scaled site plan showing the
l Location of the proposed reclaimed area in relation to existing development along the coastline.
• Conceptual location for the proposed causeway.
• Provide details on the source and estimated quantity of dredgematerial to be used in the proposed reclamation activity.
• Provide a description of the proposed methods that will be used to ensure the stability of the proposed reclaimed area.

The NEC was advised that the information requested needed to be submitted before the application was assessed.


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