Pressure is mounting on the environmental authorities over their approval of the controversial breakwater project in Negril.
The Natural Resources Conservation Authority, NRCA and the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA, approved the project last week.
Hotelier Lee Issa is the latest to express surprise and disappointment at the news.
Mr. Issa is the Chairman of Couples Resorts and a Director of the Negril Chamber of Commerce.
He says the breakwater would be irreversible and would risk damaging the nearby coral reef within the protected marine park.
Mr. Issa is calling on NEPA and the NRCA to delay the project in its present form.
Like others, he believes there’s a better way to protect the Negril shoreline, through beach nourishment.
He’s proposing that proceeds from the Tourism Enhancement Fund, TEF, be earmarked for this purpose.
Mr. Issa says beach nourishment has been successful at Cuba’s famous Varadero beach, as well as in Florida.
He says its preferable to breakwaters because it is a way to work with the natural environment, instead of creating something artificial that may adversely affect the coastal reef.
Breakwaters are a type of sea wall designed to protect the coastline from erosion.
The structure along the eastern side of the recently-upgraded Palisadoes strip is a type of breakwater, but the one to be constructed in Negril will be out in the sea, acting as an artificial reef to break the waves before they reach the shore.
Naturally, another concern about breakwaters is their lack of aesthetic appeal, or to put it plainly, they’re just ugly.
The natural beauty of Negril’s seven mile beach and the pristine waters surrounding it, is the reason millions of tourists have come from around the world to visit.
Mr. Issa says not only are the long term effects of the breakwater project unknown, there will be an immediate economic impact.