Plans for a leisure resort on St Helena have been passed by the island’s planning board – despite concerns raised over the impact on the endangered wirebird.
Final approval for the Wirebird Hills resort rests with Governor Mark Capes, who will make his decision on Tuesday 12 June 2012.
But the planning board recommended a series of conditions for developer Shelco.
If adopted, they will set high building standards and require protection of established footpaths across the Wirebird Hills site at Broad Bottom.
Shelco – the St Helena Leisure Corporation – must also ensure its operations do not harm groundwater levels or other users’ water supplies, during or after construction.
Read more by Vince Thompson in Friday’s St Helena Independent
The scheme for an 88-suite hotel with 165 tourist lodges and an “eco” golf course is the biggest to have been handled by island planning officials apart from the island’s airport – now under construction.
Shelco says its naturalistic golf course will make minimal demands on water resources in Broad Bottom and improve habitat for the island’s endemic wirebirds, which failed to raise any chicks at Broad Bottom in the last breeding season.
Matt Joshua of Enterprise St Helena has welcomed the provisonal approval, in a posting on Facebook. He writes:
“Planning permission for the “world’s greenest hotel” was passed today. What does this mean for St Helena? A major investment (possibly £70 million) by an internationally renowned hotel group (Oberoi) with outstanding green credentials. But also most importantly, opportunities for Saints to work directly for the hotel or in supporting services. Things are taking off on St Helena!”