I recently visited the general area of the Richmond Quarry. I was surprised that there was no stone-crushing activity being done. Then I asked myself why we considering dredging sand in the “sensitive area around our airport.” They are moving so much topsoil in search of quarry material that we could satisfy all our backfill material need at the modern deep-water port if we had the means to transport it.
Note this was not an official visit, so I was not allowed to go on-site and did not attempt to get on the property. I made this observation from a distance. After over a year of excavating and removing topsoil, we still have not uncovered the treasure trove of quarry material anticipated by this company and the government. I will step out on a limb and say this might not be the quarry to satisfy our ongoing development needs. And that’s ok. I hope we realize this before we remove all the rich arable soil.
In the meantime, the rock collectors, as I call them, continue to harvest small and medium-sized pebbles from the sea and the river mouth. It continues to hurt me to the core every time I visit the area to see the amount of arable and easily accessible land in this area that remains idle. My greatest fear is that one day I will visit this area and see roads built, the grounds carved into four thousand square foot lots, and the government creating a “modern village”. Please don’t let my fear become a reality.
Some other observations on my trip to my home away from home. When can we expect the government to remove the piles of volcanic ash from the Troumaka playing field? To most people, this might not be a big deal. Still, the loss of this open space has changed the area’s character and eliminated the possibilities for alternative tourism development opportunities. This small but unique valley and Bay Area between Troumaka and Coulls Hill provided a valuable recreational space in the past; it could be a transformative economic opportunity for the area with a bit of foresight. I am old enough to remember when this bay once was an attraction for many yachts which visited the area.
I could not help but notice that the villagers still use the wash stands along the lower Cumberland River. Though I was not involved in this struggle to make this amenity possible, it was a shining moment for the people in this area and an example of what could be done when people come together. For those who do not remember the issues, the short version is that the Cumberland River, like every other river in the rural community, is essential to what makes the community whole. Fishing, washing, bathing, and let’s not forget the river cookout and holiday lime. Well, when VINLEC and the government decided to divert the river for electricity production, this took away all those traditional uses. Hence the need for wash stations.
By the way, the pipeline that feeds the Cumberland power plant needs some repairs. Dr. Lewis, I can only hope you have recovered the capital replacement funds that VINLEC dipped into a few years ago to give us all that unjustified ten percent reduction on our bills during the volcano eruption. I hope you do not burden us with additional debt to complete the necessary repairs and replacement. I most certainly do not want to see a new line item, “capital equipment replacement surcharge” on our electric bill. Once again, when will you begin the public hearings on the new electricity rate study?
To end the review of my trip down memory lane, I must say the leeward highway is in excellent condition, and I would like to encourage the rest of the country to take a day trip. And don’t forget to stop in Barrouallie for some blackfish. Stop by my new favorite spot, “Sea Surf Restaurant”, for a drink and something to eat.
If you make it all the way to Fitz Hughes, just ask for the restaurant on the beach for some good home-cooked food. You won’t be disappointed. The food served by the only street vendor along the way is also excellent. No, I am not becoming a foodie. I am just happy to promote young creative, hard-working people.