St Helena Herald: Father Dale’s MBE – Airport construction work starts – National Trust seeks heritage protection law – Cameras trap wirebird predators – Sustainable Development Plan released – ‘Come home’ call to Saints overseas
Father Dale Bowers, Archdeacon of St Helena, is awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List, in recognition of ‘unstinting contribution to life on the island. An announcement by Governor Mark Capes – interestingly, dated 23 December – says Father Dale ‘spends a lot of his time visiting the elderly in the community and actively supports youth and civil society organisations such as New Horizons and the Scouts.’ Father Dale has said the award reflects the work of many people.
The first airport construction workers arrived on the island on 4 January. They include a drilling team and a geologist, who start work on soil and rock investigations in Dry Gut, beneath the site of the runway. Ian Ferguson, Basil Read’s architect, is touring the island, looking at existing architecture to guide design of the airport terminal. A team is also on the island, to ensure all Basil Read staff understand environmental issues through the construction work.
A Sustainable Development Plan, setting out what St Helena must do to prepare for the opening of its airport in 2015, is available for comment, says the Herald. Neither of the island newspapers give details of the plan, which is available on the St Helena Government website. The plan describes the scale of challenge required to establish a viable economy with a vibrant private sector. It says improvements to health and education on the island rely on the transformation of the economy. Persuading dynamic St Helenians to return home is vital.
Ten thousand Saints could be living overseas, according the Matthew Joshua, the new Business Opportunities Promoter at the St Helena Development Agency. He tells the Herald the airport construction will create opportunities that might attract some of them back to the island. ‘Additionally, there will be increased demand for other skills and services, for example, in catering, accommodation, transport and leisure. To grow St Helena’s economy in a sustainable way we need as many appropriately-skilled Saints as possible to become part of the workforce.’ SHDA is conducting a survey to guage the range of skills held by Saints off-island.
St Helena National Trust says it wants a new law to protect the island’s heritage and help people manage historic properties in their care. The Trust newsletter – written by acting director Rebecca Cairns-Wicks – says the idea has won support from the council committees in charge of planning and leisure.
A new charity is being set up in the UK to help the Trust access more funding. Jamie Roberts, who ended a two-year stint as Trust director in August, has been working on the project as a strategic advisor.
Ben Jeffs, the archaeologist, was also on the island for four months until September to map the island’s heritage, to create a Historic Environment Record.
Rebecca also reports on success in raising funds to conserve the critically endangered Spiky Yellow Woodlouse and She Cabbage Tree.
A new director for the Trust has been appointed, due to arrive in April – details to come.
Wirebird project: Thirty two camera ‘traps’ have been set up to detect predators at three of the most important wirebird breeding areas – Deadwood Plain, Man and Horse and Prosperous Bay, writes Sheila Hillman in the Herald. Broad Bottom will be left with out predactor control, to help guage the effectiveness of the traps. Inked cards, baited with peanut butter, are being used along with wax blocks flavoured with chocolate and fish oil, to help analyse movements of rodent at 220 tracking tunnels. Cats caught in wirebird areas will be returned to their owners; feral cats will be humanely put down.
Jamestown in Bloom: Prizes totalling £900 are offered for the best floral displays in the street frontage in Jamestown, as part of celebrations for the Queen’s diamond jubilee.