As the Territory struggles ahead with rebuilding efforts and ponders ways to strengthen the BVI tourism product Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that at this point Government is still interested in the golf course and five star hotel project that surfaced back in 2004.
When asked about whether interest to revive the plan would be entertained Premier Smith told reporters on 12 April that Government is open to public-private partnerships and investments such as the golf course project.
“Of course we will consider it. I think it’s maybe not a top priority like the airport itself, which is the number one priority in that area, but it is something that is useful and helps to bring a certain type of visitors to the Territory,” Hon. Smith said.
“And anything that improves the number of visitors coming to enjoy what we have here in the BVI will be useful for us,” he added.
The proposal by Hong Kong registered company Quorum Island Developers to build a five star resort, mega yacht marina, and golf course was highly contested during the NDP’s 2003-2007 administration. In fact, the project was the subject of many public meetings and even a memorable court case.
At the heart of the controversial matter were plans for the development of a resort that included: inner and outer marinas; a marina village; a 200 room hotel and spa; residential lots and villas, Trellis Bay Commercial Centre, and an 18 hole, 180 acre golf course. Residents protested claiming that if commenced the project would have adverse effects on Hans Creek and the surrounding areas.
The idea was never discarded as Premier Smith announced back in May 2014 that the project was still on the table. During a press conference on May 29, Premier Smith informed reporters that the Beef Island project was being promoted as one of the Territory’s investment opportunities as Government tried to woe investment to the BVI.
The project was ruled against in 2009 under a VIP administration, when Justice Indra Hariprashad-Charles quashed the project’s Planning Approval Letter. The matter had made its ways to court after the Virgin Islands Environmental Council made a case against the proposal.
However, Quorum alleged that the proposal for the golf course was part of a development commitment that was presented in 1995. The developers have also always maintained that they sought expert advice as it relates to environmental impact of the project.