SABA — A large step was taken in the harbor project earlier this week with the submitting of the permit request for the construction of a new harbor at Black Rocks at Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands. The total package that was filed contained the requests for the necessary building permits, and included the documentation that is needed to acquire the permits, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment, the archeological assessment and the navigational safety assessment.
Rijkswaterstaat will review and decide on the permit request in the coming months. Consultations with the local stakeholders have taken place in preparation of the permit request. A townhall meeting will be organized in the near future to inform the public about the harbor project and the latest developments.
The next step will be the preparing of the tender, which is projected to go out in the first quarter of 2023. Harbor project manager Mario Prak and harbor policy advisor Zelda Meeuwsen are traveling to the Netherlands for market consultation meetings next week with a number of contractors from the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark that specialize in maritime construction. The project team has already had consultations with Caribbean and North-American contractors. Local contractors will be doing as much work as possible in the harbor project. The works that require a certain expertise unavailable locally, will be done by contractors from outside the island.
As part of the harbor project, investments will be made in the current Fort Bay Harbor which will become the designated cargo facility once the new harbor at Black Rocks is completed. The first repair works to the main pier and the Ro-Ro ramp, as well as the placing of new bollards and cleats, will start before the end of 2022. These works will be carried out by local contractors.
The construction road to the new harbor site is looking a bit greener with the planting of fruit trees. The Agricultural Department, advised by Jim Garza of the local hydroculture farm Gezondheid Farms, has planted some 40 coconut and sea grape trees along the construction road. An irrigation system was also put in place. The revegetation will help to mitigate erosion. Revegetation/reforestation is an integral part of the harbor project.
The harbor project team was recently reinforced with Mario Prak. The new project manager has vast working experience in the marine construction sector, the dredging industry and project management. He has worked in many countries around the world, including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, India, South Africa, Tanzania. His last job before coming to Saba was a consultancy job to supervise the removal of ship wrecks in St. Maarten’s Simpson Bay Lagoon.