Monday, August 4, 2008

Black Bess - Green Golf Resort In the Making

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One of my chief complaints over the last few years as a blogger trying to cover tourism development on the west coast has been the complete lack of information on the web or anywhere else on almost all of the largest projects in the area. I have contended that it contributes to the sense of alienation and distrust on the part of locals and the sense that their homeland is being stolen right from under their noses. More often than not the press releases and plans for these developments were appearing in overseas media (mostly British) long before anything appeared the locally or some enterprising blogger or journalist (mostly the former) caught on to what was going on. This is why I welcome the virtual treasure trove of information the development at Black Bess has recently dumped on the web.

This is indeed a refreshing departure from the norm of how business is done in Barbados since it is the most complete set of plans this blogger has seen for any tourism development project on the island. There is almost too much detail. What stands out is the attention and emphasis being placed on the environment. Indeed, in the humble opinion of this blogger, if they only succeed in keeping half their promises, Black Bess would still be a shining example of a green resort not only in Barbados but throughout most of the rest of the region. Of particular note is the plan to use wind power to pump water from a huge manmade lake to irrigate the golf course. The windmills would be an interesting 'back-to-the-future' for Barbados which is still dotted with the walls of scores of windmills used in the production of sugar and pumping of potable water since the 17th century.

It is doubtful many locals will ever catch a glimpse of this new generation of windmills since the Black Bess resort is so secluded and off the beaten path. Only a small portion of the Banyan Tree section of the resort is visible from the highway peeking over a steep cliff overlooking the west coast. Plans call for Banyan Tree to open by the end of the year but it would take nothing short of a miracle for that to happen given the rumors circulating about the project’s cash flow situation. In any event even if the other sections of the sprawling 360-acre resort never get built, Banyan Tree with only 47 pool-villas (less than half the hotel rooms of Sandy Lane and the upcoming Four Seasons) will definitely redefine luxury in Barbados.

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