Coastal Erosion Will Destroy The Argyle Airport

It is unacceptable that the ULP regime is spending about $1 billion dollars on the Argyle airport to provide political oxygen to hold on to office. The ULP government’s own Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report clearly warns in several places that Argyle is an unsuitable site for the airport.

The windward coast, in which the Argyle Airport is positioned, is prone to very high levels of coastal erosion. The St. Vincent Coastal Zone Management Report (CZMR, 2006) indicates that beach erosion rates appear to have accelerated over the last 8 to 10 years. Between 1997 and 2000, the mean erosion rate along the windward coast of SVG is estimated to have been around 1.6m/yr.

Over the same period, Orange Hill, which is along this stretch of the eastern shoreline, recorded a total of 15m of coastal retreat. The loss of an entire playing field at Sandy Bay illustrates the rapid rate of coastal erosion and loss of land to the sea (p.101 of EIA report). We are also aware that several houses were taken by coastal erosion in the Langley Park area.

The Argyle Airport site is only a few metres from the sea. With climate change and a rise in sea level, we will have a mean coastal erosion rate greater than 1.6m/yr. This means there will be a greater likelihood that the Argyle Airport will be taken out by coastal erosion. Argyle Airport is highly unlikely to function as an International Airport.

The EIA report (page 169) warns that ‘considering the high-energy characteristics of the windward coast, there is also a risk that the new structure itself may be damaged or destroyed as a result of continuous high wave energy and ocean currents, or as a result of extreme weather events, e.g. hurricane and storm surge’.
The scientific evidence shows quite clearly that over time, coastal erosion will take out the Argyle Airport.
It is therefore, outrageous and highly irresponsible to continue with the Argyle Airport project. Man cannot stop the inevitable destruction by mother nature of the Argyle Airport site. Too much money has already been wasted, and we should not waste any more.

At the Rio Environmental Summit in 1987, sustainability was defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. What is the point of spending $1 billion dollars to build an airport that does not even meet the needs of the present, and compromises the needs of future generations?

We must abort the doomed Argyle Airport project now. The opportunity cost would be massive if we don’t.
The money destined for Argyle could be used to bring free wi-fi internet to the whole country; build a wind farm for renewable energy, and reduce the price of electricity by 50%; bring down the price of water by 50% and make sure every house is connected to the mains water supply; build modern hospitals and our own university; and, set up a fishing and fish canning industry, and build other factories.
All this would create thousands of new jobs for our people, and bring prosperity.

SVG Green Party