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Long-awaited dredging begins at FortuneBay

Posted on August 31, 2022

In early September, dredging began on the channel leading to the canal that serves the residential areas of Fortune Bay and Fortune Village, and for at least a decade, homeowners and sailors have been seriously inconvenienced by the silting of the channel. welcomes this news. .

Lucaya Service Company Ltd (LUSCO), a subsidiary of Grand Bahama Development Company (DEVCO), made the announcement in a press release dated August 23rd.

Charisse Brown, DEVCO’s CEO, President and Senior General Counsel, said: , which is expected to be completed in early 2023. ”

The statement noted that during the recent hurricane, the south shore of Grand Bahama experienced significant wave activity forming sand shoals on navigation canals and waterways, creating obstacles and hazards for sailors.

A pier, which was set up to stabilize the channel, was also affected, displacing rocks and breaking retaining walls.

A local construction company was invited to bid for this project. This included repairing the entrance and dredging the 1,347-foot-long channel to 9 feet below average low water level.

42-foot yacht owner Jack Nash said it’s been years since he was able to bring the boat home.

“The situation got so bad that we were forced to dock the boat at a $450 a month marina, costing us more than $17,000,” he said.

Solomon and Alex Saunders have lived in Fortune Bay for over 30 years and are very avid boaters.

Alex Saunders is the main organizer of the annual “Battleground” fishing tournament.

They claim that, apart from installing a few warning signs, nothing has been done to alleviate the canal’s problems for more than a decade.

They are happy that some action has finally been taken.

According to a LUSCO release, the amount of material removed in the maintenance dredging is significant and is currently working with the winning bidder, A&D Gaitor’s Equipment Rock & Sand, a Bahamian company licensed by Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited. and working on a final decision. An approved work plan, including environmental safety measures, to minimize potential consequences that may result.

Long’s Marine and commercial fishing vessel owner Erin Long said the announcement was well overdue.

“This is a long-standing problem and not just because of the last two hurricanes,” says Long.

“My ship would sometimes have to wait 10 hours or more for the tide to change just to get in and out. [I] Other marinas are forced to use alternative slips. I am pleased that the promise of action has finally been made. “

The only business in the area is the Dolphin Experience, and manager Roscoe Dickinson is pleased that channel clearance is finally taking place.

“There have been many times in the past when navigating waterways has been really inconvenient and our boats couldn’t get through, so we’re looking forward to having a clean canal,” he said.

However, Dickinson added that he was a little concerned, saying, “We are concerned about the dolphins and how excavations will stir up silt, and we are taking precautions. I hope it doesn’t come close enough to affect our facility.”

The sand-blocked entrance has fans enjoying shallow-water swimming. At low tide, you can walk between the two piers and the created beach.

Residents and business owners say all waterway entrances need attention.

The Xanadu Channel has been effectively blocked and has been for years.

Hurricane Dorian washed out most of the eastern arm at the southern entrance to the Lucayan Channel. Residents say barges have been hauling thousands of tons of boulders in that direction over the past few weeks, hoping it was meant to fill the gap.

It turned out that they passed through the entrance and were heading to the new cruise ship terminal at Sharp Rocks Point, about two miles away.

Bahamas Reef residents Andrea and Joe Thompson said the work done on the channel was clearly not successful because there is still a lot of shallow water.

“The entire center of the channel was never properly dredged because the equipment used could only reach the inner area,” said Andrea Thompson.

“In one case, an excavator actually slipped into the canal and had to be hauled out. Apparently, an attempt was made to use a sand pump, but it didn’t work.

“Grand Bahama’s waterways are used for both commercial and recreational purposes, and the health of these waterways is critical to sustaining and growing the livelihoods and economy of Grand Bahama,” Brown said in a news release. increase.

LUSCO said the project manager and recording engineer for the Fortune Bay Project, Phoenix Engineering Group Limited, will also develop a comprehensive program for the ongoing maintenance of the canal. Long-awaited dredging begins at FortuneBay


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