The Fort Bay harbor project is proceeding steadily. On Wednesday, January 30, a meeting took place of the harbor advisory committee, the executive project board and the project team to discuss the developments in this largest ever project for the island.
So far, the National Government has made a total amount of 27.5 million euros available for this project which involves the construction of a new, larger main pier on the location of the current small pier, the extension of the current main pier and improvements at the shoreline and infrastructure on land. Of this amount, 15 million euros comes from the Hurricane Recovery Fund and 12.5 million euros from the Regional Envelope. The Public Entity Saba is contributing US $1 million.
The scope of the project contains three main elements: the upgrading and expansion of the harbor, making the harbor hurricane proof and increasing economic activities. The prequalification for the contractors starts in the next few months. Procurement will take place according to the World Bank guidelines.
A company from the United States has been commissioned to do a marina study to look at opportunities for the new, expanded harbor to accommodate sailing yachts, small cruise vessels and mega-yachts.
The permit application for the harbor expansion has started and will be concluded next month. Prior to that, the environmental impact assessment needs to be concluded. This assessment is well underway and should be ready next month.
The majority of the study is carried out by Ecovision consulting services together with the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) which have mapped the presence of corals and sponges in the harbor area. The study includes assessment and mitigation of the impacts on marine life (corals and fish) and marine archaeology (artefacts).
Commissioner Bruce Zagers said that bringing the team together for the first time was a big step for the continuation of the project. “All of the studies and processes, although time consuming, are necessary for the permit process and ultimately for a successful project,” he explained.
“A project of this magnitude requires significant planning to ensure that we get the best possible product that will facilitate increased harbor activities and improve the overall facilities,” said Zagers, who again emphasized the great importance of the expanded and reconstructed harbor for Saba’s development.
The harbor project is supported by an advisory committee that consists of Head of the Finance Department Maureen van der Kaap-Hassell, Harbor Master Travis Johnson, Head of the Planning Bureau Bobby Zagers, Michel Ruijter of the Department of Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) in the Netherlands and legal advisor Tom Peeters of the law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne.
There is also the Executive Project Board which consists of members of the Saba Executive Council, assisted by Policy Officer of the Public Entity Saba Sarah van der Horn. Ton van der Plas is the project manager.
Also present during the meeting on Wednesday was Bert van den Berg of Witteveen+Bos, the company that designs the marine structures. The project is executed in close consultation with the ministry of Infrastructure and Water management (I&W).