Sunday , February 5 2023

Harbour master plan Saba to be drafted

A master plan for the Saba harbour will be drafted this year, a plan that includes short-, medium- and long-term goals to comply with a growing demand and to improve the general facility.

Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers in charge of infrastructure and tourism stated this during his visit to the Netherlands earlier this week. One of the priorities in that master plan will be the separating of commercial traffic and tourism related traffic in the harbour.

Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers (left) with Sarah van der Horn, who will return to Saba as a policy worker in
March and architect Pieter Figdor (right) of the Public Domain Architects in Rotterdam earlier this week.

“We have a small harbour and all operations come together in that one area: fishing, diving, cargo, ferry, yachts and cruises. We need a better, clearer channelling of all these activities. It is important to make a plan, a vision of what we want to see as the harbour for Saba in the future,” Zagers told The Daily Herald.

The plan will also deal with the much needed maintenance issue for the Fort Bay harbour. There is US $3 million available for the harbour this year, funds from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment I&M. The drafting of a master plan is a priority in the utilisation of these funds. So far most investments have been done ad-hoc, without a master plan in place.

Another priority that will be addressed in the master plan is the breaking of the swells around the harbour so that it can provide better mooring and docking facilities for tourism related traffic, as well as for local fishing and dive boats.

A new pier is under consideration, while extending the current pier is also an option. The local stakeholders will be consulted in the process to draft the master plan to ensure that their needs are catered to as much as possible, said Zagers.

Sarah van der Horn, who has worked in Saba for five months as a Dutch Government trainee two years ago, will return to the island in March to take up a position as policy worker. The harbour master plan will be one of her priorities. Van der Horn currently works for the Ministry of I&M.

While in the Netherlands, Commissioner Zagers met with architect Pieter Figdor of the Public Domain Architects in Rotterdam, a company that specialises in exploring creative solutions for the construction of harbours, more specifically floating harbours.

The floating harbour is a fairly new concept that is being applied for several locations in the world. It is a cheaper option than building a traditional harbour which requires land mass. Extensive testing would be necessary to prove that this concept could work in the Caribbean. Zagers said Saba’s sea depth and the island’s location in the hurricane belt needed to be considered.

The Daily Herald.

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