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Community Last Updated: May 8, 2018 - 8:26:32 PM


Derelict Buildings to Fall: Pioneers Plaza the First of many on Grand Bahama
By The Grand Bahama Port Authority
May 8, 2018 - 4:05:38 PM

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Hayward Reviews Pioneers Demolition Site Rupert Hayward, GBPA Director discuss the cleanup plants for the Pioneers Plaza, with Troy McIntosh, GBPA Manager of Building and Development, which was demolished in early March. This just the first of several such projects on the agenda for the GBPA, which has already set its sights on another abandoned property. (Photo courtesy of the GBPA)

Freeport, Grand Bahama – In keeping with its mandate to manage the City of Freeport, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is continuing  the process of ridding the island of abandoned, derelict and structurally unsound properties.

“The beautification and maintenance of the City of Freeport is always of paramount importance to GBPA.  While there are inevitable constraints, mostly legal, we are committed to that responsibility and to our customers,” said Rupert Hayward, GBPA Director. Having recently returned to Grand Bahama Island to raise his family, he has been assigned the task of helping to continue to beautify Freeport.

“Since returning home, I too have seen the dilapidated buildings that are littering our city scape. I’m excited to take on the challenge and my hope is that we are able to restore the city of Freeport to a place that more closely resembles the vision that Freeport’s founders had for it” he said.

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In early March, the GBPA Building and Development Services Department took the first steps toward making that vision a reality by bulldozing the downtown Professional Plaza on Pioneer’s Way. The building which had once been home to countless businesses sustained serious damage from recent hurricanes and had been left in a state of dilapidation. The remaining debris from the demolition is being cleared and taken to the island’s dumpsite.

“It will take us another month to finish this process of sanitization,” said Troy McIntosh, Manager of Building and Development for the GBPA. “The entire process will cost the GBPA close to one hundred thousand dollars to complete but it represents the company’s commitment to ridding the island of a significant and potentially dangerous eyesore.”

The Pioneers Plaza is just the first of several such projects on the agenda for the active department, which has already set its sights on another abandoned property.  Over the last three years the GBPA has demolished over eighteen buildings.  

“While we are eager to rid the City of these derelict and unsightly buildings, demolition is always our last resort.  We utilize every effort to work with the owners to repair where necessary and only demolish in severe cases” explained McIntosh. 

The success of this project will require more than the action of the GBPA but also the support of all relevant stakeholders on Grand Bahama.

“We need persons to be conscious of the negative impact these buildings, homes and dumping have on our environment. It creates a negative impression for visiting tourists and can have a terrible impact on the health of our children,” noted McIntosh.

In hopes of encouraging that spirit of collaboration, the company has engaged teams from The Ministry of Grand Bahama and other Government agencies including the Ministry of Tourism, the Members of Parliament and GBPA Licensees to clean up the city.

“We encourage everyone to join us in this process,” said McIntosh who has been recording all the issues via the company’s new Freeport Report app, “we are looking to clean up the Pioneers Way, Queen’s Highway and then all tourist areas next. I would encourage those who know they have issues to sort them out so that we can make Freeport shine again.”
  

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