"An SOS has gone out to Government to withstand pressure from developers and save the Scotland District from the rapid urban sprawl sweeping across Barbados.
However, president of the Barbados National Trust and historian Dr. Karl Watson believes that the urbanisation of Barbados as it moves towards becoming a city state is “unstoppable”.
“The Scotland District is the last frontier that the real estate barons of this island are going to target, and not only are they going to target it, but they are going to actively develop it,” he warned.
He has reservations about Government’s ability to prevent this kind of development.
“I think that even with the best will in the world and with the imposition of controls and with the full authority that Town and Country Planning has, I think that the economic aspect of development and the economic drivers of development are so gargantuan, so all-consuming, overpowering, that they are going to break down any hurdle that we put in their way to act as a brake on this runaway development.”
The noted historian and archaeologist was delivering a lecture entitled Urbanisation vs. The Countryside: Barbados Becomes a City State at the LB Harcourt Lewis Training Room, Barbados
Public Workers Credit Union Headquarters, on Monday night. It was part of the 13th anniversary celebrations of the Urban Development Commission.
Watson said the National Trust eagerly awaited the day when the formal Cabinet decision to legally establish the National Park of Barbados would become reality.
“... We need some guarantee that at some point in time in the next 15 or 20 years there will be some green spaces left in this island that we can go out and enjoy. It has to be done,” he said.
With the assistance of maps and photographs spanning three centuries, he illustrated how “urbanisation from the east and urbanisation from the west are meeting”.
The decline in acreage for sugar production from nearly 52 000 acres in 1966 to 17 000 in 2005 was cited as an indication of how agriculture had progressively given way
to housing development.
“From North Point to South Point we are busy cementing over every available square inch that we can,” Watson observed. “We have to say enough is enough. Let us slow this process.”
“Ultimately it moves out of the hands of Government and has to come back to us the people,” he added.
“We have to decide as a people, do we collectively reduce our expectations so that we don’t continue to ruin the environment of this island [or] do we restrain our zeal for consumption?”"