Contracts signed to develop Big Pond Park
The Ministry of Works yesterday signed contracts to develop the Big Pond Park, the last remaining plot of wetlands in central New Providence, which will first require a contaminated land investigation as it was once a landfill.
Shenique Albury, an environmentalist at the ministry, said the area chosen for the initial phase one development was used as a landfill site up until the end of the 1970s and was never rehabilitated. Therefore, for the safety of the individuals who will use the park in the future, an assessment for possible contaminants has to be done.
The initial phase of the park’s development is expected to include trails, boardwalks, a children’s play area and a picnic area, all of which will be situated in an area of the park that lies just off of Blue Hill Road between the National Insurance Building and the Yellow Elder School.
Minister of Public Works Neko Grant said the park will be an important recreational and environmental area for the Bahamian public.
“The plan for this park is to restore and protect it as an urban open space for public use through the clearing of the park site,”said Grant.
Albury said the Big Pond wetland, which is almost 170 acres, has been found to harbor at least 40 species of birds as well as important vegetation.
“One of the reasons why this area was chosen is because it is more or less the only vegetated area that’s left in Central New Providence,”she said.
President of C.H. Developers and Construction Limited Fabian Bain, whose company won the contracts to complete the contaminations study, said his part of the project should take 12 weeks at a contracted cost of$378,000.
Bain said his company has enlisted the help of local firm Blue Engineering Company Limited and U.S. firm SES Engineering to assist with the assessments.
Albury said a boundary survey will also be done in tandem with the contamination assessment in order to obtain the proper borders of the park.
“The boundary survey is just so that we can have a legal description of the park area as well as the legal boundaries that are necessary for us to proceed in making the park a reality,”she said.
While the park is 170 acres, Albury said only about seven acres will be developed in the first phase at a cost of almost two million dollars.
Grant said the development of the Big Pond Park will complement the enormous landscaping project that will take place around the new national stadium, which lies adjacent to it.