Environment

Cost survey to compare Goat Islands with Kingston Harbour

Wednesday, March 26, 2014    

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SALT RIVER, Clarendon — The Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation is raising funds to hire an international firm to conduct a study on the cost effectiveness of developing a port at Goat Islands as against the Kingston Harbour.

"Much of the current Goat Islands discussion pits the environment against the economy, but we believe the two don't have to work against each other," said Ingrid Parchment, executive director of C-CAM, which does conservation work in the Portland Bight Protected Area where the Goat Islands are located. "We want to understand our nation's options by getting a better sense of the financial and environmental costs of the proposed port development versus other potential sites," she said.

C-CAM didn't release the name of the firm, but said it was an "established international environmental economics" company. It said, too, that a third site might be analysed under the project.

In a release to the media, the foundation said it decided to procure the data given what it described as "the absence of any meaningful discussion about the true costs and benefits of the proposed port development at Goat Islands and any understanding of what using that site will mean for Jamaicans in both financial and environmental terms".

It explained that the study will look at environmental costs in both monetary and non-monetary terms. "It will put a dollar value on the ecosystem services lost to project damage as well as on the replacement cost for compensating those damages with offsite conservation and/or restoration activities," Parchment said.

"The examination of financial costs will focus on the capital and recurring costs of the port and associated infrastructure, such as access roads necessary for the port's functioning. Financial costs will also include required environmental mitigation," she added.

The findings from the report are to be made available to the public by June this year, C-CAM said.

"We think that it is important to provide another perspective in real economic terms as we seek to continue to promote sustainable development in Portland Bight and the value of our natural resources," the C-CAM boss said.

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