Officials Receive Update on Private Sector Developments – Senior Government officials that gathered at the first meeting of the newly formed Government Environmental Monitoring Committee (EMC) meeting were brought up to date on environmental and other important matters related to three major private sector development projects that are currently under way in the Territory. Individual presentations were made by representatives from the Moorings which is expanding its current marine base in Road Town in order to centralise its recently expanded operations; Nanny Cay, which has been granted approval to undertake various enhancements and upgrading works to the existing resort and marina facilities; and MainSail, which is building a full functioning resort village on Scrub Island that would provide for a variety of resort, residential, cultural, and recreational activities.

Among the matters discussed were ongoing compliance with conditions outlined by Government to guide the work of the various projects, efforts by the respective developers to ensure marine life and general water quality surrounding their developments are not negatively impacted, and the direct social and economic contributions to the Virgin Islands to be made from the various projects.

“The meeting was a step in the right direction. It provided an opportunity for Government and the developers to have a forum to put forward their cases with regards to compliance, while highlighting issues and concerns that are of mutual interest,” said the Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer.

The Town and Country Planning Department, which comes under the Premier’s Office and serves as a lead government agency on the EMC, works to ensure sustainable development in the Territory by promoting the wise use of land.

Overseas Territories Environment Fund Call for Bid
– The Governor’s Office are inviting community-based organisations, educational institutions, BVI Government and NGOs to submit proposals to the Overseas Territories Environment Fund (OTEP), within the following criteria, for the latest bidding round of 2007/2008.  The deadline for receipt of bids is Friday 30 November 2007.

OTEP is a joint programme of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development to support the implementation of the Environment Charters and environmental management more generally in the UK Overseas Territories.  The goal of OTEP remains: “Enhanced quality of life and livelihood opportunities for the inhabitants of all UK Overseas Territories through the sustainable use (or protection, where necessary) of environmental and natural resources, whilst securing global environmental benefits within the scope of the core principles of the relevant multilateral environmental agreements.”

Projects proposed must contribute to the implementation of the Overseas Territories Environment Charters. Projects relating to recycling initiatives will be particularly welcomed.  Copies of Charters for individual Territories can be found at  OTEP is not intended to substitute for activities that would normally be part of an Overseas Territory government’s core functions.

Building BVI – Over the past 4 years members of the Virgin Gorda community have gotten some much needed attention from Government.  In just less than a month of taking office, the new Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Honourable Omar W. Hodge visited the island and paid special attention to the North Sound sub-division of crown land.

House lots have been allocated to 35 first-time land owners in North Sound.  To further assist these persons, the Ministry is in the process of cutting a road, to allow those persons access to the land to begin building their first homes.

According to Government Information Services the Executive Council awarded 53 grants of land to persons who fulfilled the requirements for crown land.  These include persons who have built and occupied land for upwards of 20 years without title, persons who were previously recommended as well as new applicants for both residential and commercial use.

For years, the BVI Government has assisted community members in building homes by allocating crown land for persons to build their first homes. Whenever such crown land is available, a notice of the subdivision is sent out to the public.  Though no formal application is yet available, interested persons can write to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour expressing interest.  

By the Minister’s appointment a committee is selected to make decisions on applications.  Individuals granted land pay a fee for the land that is often less than 50 percent of the market rate.  Persons interested in building commercial properties may also submit to the Ministry.  Only BVIslanders are encouraged to apply for crown land.

Source: GIS