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Marine Aquarium for Union Island

Marine Aquarium  for Union Island

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by Donn DeRiggs 03.APR.09

Construction is now in the final stages for an “interpretation centre”, designed to give visitors, students and researchers a close-up look of the marine bio-diversity of the Southern Grenadines.{{more}}

The building, which is an extension of the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) office in Clifton, Union Island, will house a marine aquarium and an audio-visual room where underwater films can be viewed as a foretaste of what can be experienced and expected in the Tobago Cays and other beautiful dive sites in the Southern Grenadines.

Moses Alleyne, contractor for the extension of the building, said that the project is on schedule and will be ready for delivery by the end of March. The project employs eight skilled persons, while the new facility will provide employment for another three persons. The project costs approximately EC$180,000, with funds being provided by the OECS/OPAAL project.

The chairman of the Board of Directors of the TCMP, Fr. Andrew Roache, said that this project was conceived since 2004, when a consulting firm made recommendations for the sustainable development of the marine resources of the Southern Grenadines, with special focus on the TCMP. He went on to state that since the inception of the OPAAL project, he has observed a reduction in the ‘hassling’ of tourists, as well as an improvement in customer relations, which he attributed to an on-going training program which targeted schools, as well as persons in the tourism industry who have to interact directly with the visitors.

The TCMP chairman also revealed that OPAAL will be making the service of an ‘in house’ consultant (site coordinator) available for a two year period, who will, among other things, assist in developing appropriate management structures for the efficient operations of the TCMP office and services.

In related news, the TCMP office recently constructed an enclosed garbage receptacle at the Clifton waterfront. Previously, garbage was dumped indiscriminately in the same location and was very unsightly, and a health hazard to passers by.

The receptacle, which cost EC$17,000, will be used to temporarily store solid waste generated from visiting yachts and vegetable vendors who ply their trade in that vicinity. Business places will not be allowed to use the facility.

Persons using the facility will be charged EC$1:00 per bag, which will be used for the upkeep and maintenance of the facility.

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