Massive Turnout at Graeme Hall
No Solution Yet for Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary
Massive attendance at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary stopped traffic once again in Worthing on Monday, forcing Sanctuary staff to help facilitate traffic in and out of the Sanctuary's entrance.
“We estimate 9,500 people passed through the gates on Monday,” said Harry Roberts, General Manager of the Sanctuary.
“Hundreds of people kept telling us that they want to see the Sanctuary stay open, and that they want the surrounding lands up to the ABC Highway reserved for open green space, and that this was their way of showing their support.”
“Frankly, we were completely shocked at the how many people came yesterday, because 8,000 people had already visited during our open day last month on November 9,” said Roberts.
Sanctuary staff scrambled to accommodate people who wanted to see the park one last time before the scheduled closing on December 15.
As of this past weekend, Peter Allard, owner of the Sanctuary confirmed that he had not received any substantive solutions or proposals from government in regard to preservation of the Sanctuary and its upland buffers to the ABC Highway in perpetuity, but acknowledged that he had heard that government officials were discussing the matter internally. Allard reiterated that he continues to be available to discuss progressive good faith solutions to create a new park within the approximately 240 acre environmental and recreational green space at Graeme Hall, inclusive of the Sanctuary and public and private lands within the RAMSAR wetland, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture complex and surrounding uplands.
This Graeme Hall green space is the last significant area available for parkland between the Airport and Bridgetown.
“We have no confirmation yet that government will preserve the buffer lands up to the ABC Highway as open space,” said Allard. “We believe strongly that the environmental health of the RAMSAR site and the Sanctuary is absolutely dependent on the uplands being preserved as open space.”
The Sanctuary is scheduled to close on December 15, 2008 after an investment of US$35 million over the past 14 years.