To dredge or not to dredge, that is the question

Over the last three to four decades with the increased use of the waters off Palm Beach the bottom of our ocean grew muckier and muckier, especially in the area between the Holiday Inn and the Barcelo Aruba.

Fine slippery gook under toes – some call it silt, is the result of organic material build-up in the warm water. Some experts say leave it alone, it’s seasonal, it comes and goes, let nature take care of itself; some experts would like to intervene, and find a system to strategically remove it from the areas used by swimmers.

Hence dredging.

Dredging excavates the seabed by sucking the stuff up and dumping it in the deep, a distance away, or picks it up with machinery, one full goliath backhoe at the time.

What’s with the dredging all of a sudden?

Why am I talking about it?

Apparently most Palm Beach Resorts received a letter from the ministry of tourism informing them that effective Feb 9th portions of their beach will be closed for six weeks at the time for dredging, paid for by GOA who is apparently committed to do it, contractor paid, machinery on standby.

The shocking news was met with a mix of reactions from over-my-dead-body, to why-not-if-they-want-to-pay-for-it.

The nay sayers point at the high season, the high occupancy, the potential upset caused to guests and the fact that 2018 is a banner year as far as tourism is concerned and the vacay momentum should not be disrupted, by maintenance.

There will be a great loss of income to the hotels and consequently to GOA if the high season is affected.

Besides, where is the science that says that indeed dredging is the way to go?

And what is the long term environmental impact of dredging of that kind?

Surfside was recently dredged, did the situation there improve?

We have more questions than answers.

I believed at this moment, GOA agreed to hold off until May and the off season.

As a rule, decisions of this magnitude must be taken in consultation with the involved partners otherwise the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

 

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January 08, 2018
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