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Exuma chamber chief pleased with infrastructure progress

The head of the Exuma Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the progress of the island’s infrastructure projects, specifically the recent completion of a waste water processing plant that will bring indirect benefits to the economy.

Floyd Armbrister toldGuardian Businessyesterday that the new treatment plant will provide aesthetic benefits to the Elizabeth Harbor, which he describes as”business hub”for boating visitors. He added it will also lead to increased boating visitors.

“We’re happy with the boaters and they have continued to pump substantial amounts of capital in the country and are great contributors,”Armbrister said.”It’s definitely a positive step that this project has been completed. It was funded by the United Nations and we’re happy to see that the island of Exuma will go far in aiding and assisting in keeping the harbor cleaner for our visitors.”

The harbor was experiencing sewage problems, where as many as 500 boaters usually dock their vessels in the cove and dump their waste in the ocean, not cognizant of the contaminating seabed of commercial stock. The growing problem was recognized by Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour, saying the waste was a”significant threat”to the environment.

“We know every year during the yachting season between 300 to 500 yachts make use of Elizabeth Harbour, often spending several months anchored here,”Neymour said.”Exuma receives so many yachters because they come to enjoy our exceptional coastal areas, our reef systems, that are found in abundance within the Exuma archipelago, and the warmth and hospitality of Exumians.”

With the new waste water treatment plant, boaters can pay a minimal fee of$10 to pump their waste onto a collection boat, which will transport the sewage materials to the plant for disposal. A private firm will be handling the waste transportation, and based on the 500 boaters that dock in the harbor, thousands of dollars could be made from the initiative.

Armbrister said the progress of the harbor along with other ongoing infrastructure projects are a positive sign for the island,which include the construction of a new port along with the creation of a bypass road. No dollar amount has been designated for those developments, but financing is expected to come from the China Export-Import Bank. The China Harbor Company is in charge of the project and will conduct studies on the island. It will also carry out similar work in North Abaco and Eleuthera.

He is still lobbying for a mini-hospital for the island, which he described as a”major need.”

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