Coastal Development

John Gourley john.gourley at
Sun Feb 25 07:55:41 EST 2001


I would like to echo what Robert Bourke discussed about approaching
developers/permit applicants as early on in the permitting process as possible.
As someone who is intimately involved with the permitting of development
projects such as those being discussed, I (somewhat) understand the mentality of
developers/applicants and those who generally oppose these type projects. I have
been caught in-between these two groups on more than one occasion.

In addition to Bourke's comments I believe there is one other issue that is just
as important - that of attitude. Despite the fact that one truly believes that a
particular development project may "destroy our precious fragile coral reefs",
continually bombarding the developer with these clichés will do nothing but
alienate them to a point where it will be difficult to get any concessions. The
message these broad sweeping accusations are giving to the developer is that you
oppose the project in its entirety. How else would you expect the developer to
react? (Granted, there will be certain projects-from-hell that should be openly
opposed however those are not under discussion here.) I believe that if you can
approach the developer with a calm demeanor and be reasonable with your
requests, the chances of  being able to seriously discuss (and address) your
concerns are greatly increased. Once you have the developers attention, then
present them with specific scientifically based (if possible) concerns and (very
important) offer viable options that will minimize the perceived impacts (other
than moving the project to another island).   Although easy to suggest, this
approach is difficult and will require someone with special people skills.......
it can even be a person not involved with the local environmental group.  Leave
the rabid environmentalists out of these meetings as they will do nothing but
cause the developers eyes to glaze over and not listen to a thing being

It is unrealistic to expect a development project to have no impacts. As such,
you should be reasonable (key word) in determining the threshold level of
impacts that you are willing to accept. Don't expect the permitting process to
stop the project, as its purpose is to to minimize impacts, not necessarily
modify the project to a point where it has no impacts. What is being suggested
is not an ideal solution, but in the real world (especially in those countries
that are economically challenged) these projects will go forward regardless of
what you do and the best we can hope for is to work with the developer in
minimizing impacts rather than alienating them. Some may be surprised that most
developers don't want the environment destroyed any more than you do........ its
just that they need to be educated in a non-threatening manner that will
translate into more $$ for them.

Sorry for the preaching..........


Robert Bourke wrote:

> Coral List;
> Developments such as the one brought to our attention by Mr. Jaufeerally in
> Mauritus, Indian Ocean, or the one in St. Vincints Island are going to
> happen.  While this may be seen as deplorable to those of us interested in
> protecting coral reefs, the fact remains that economic and social pressures
> will continue to foster this type of development.  The truly sad part about
> these stories is that the application of modern coastal engineering design
> and construction techniques could largely avoid the majority of adverse
> impacts to the reef ecosystem.  As a biologist working for such a coastal
> engineering company it is very frustrating to know that such damage to the
> environment can be avoided, only to be underbid on a project by other
> engineering companies who do not take environmental issues into
> consideration.  For those of you on the Coral List with concerns about
> coastal development issues in your own vicinity, I strongly suggest that you
> focus your efforts on the permitting of such developments at the earliest
> possible stage.  When a developer is trying to obtain permits, they will
> promise almost anything.  The trick is to get it in writing as a condition
> of the permit.  Once the permit is issued and the cranes and barges on
> en-route it is almost impossible to make positive changes in design or
> construction methods.
> Good Luck
> Bob Bourke
> Oceanit
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Karim Jaufeerally [SMTP:KRM at]
> > Sent: Friday, February 23, 2001 12:13 AM
> > To:   coral-list at
> > Subject:      Blue Bay Marine Park in Mauritius
> >
> > Save Blue Bay Marine Park
> >
> > Greetings,
> >
> > My name is Karim Jaufeerally from Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, we have =
> > two declared marine parks both of which are under stress from =
> > development and tourism. The least affected marine park, the Blue Bay =
> > Marine Park, is under threat from promoters who wish to build a hotel =
> > right in the middle of it.
> >
> > Please visit the following web site to get acquainted with the =
> > prevailing situation and please help by letting the Mauritian Government =
> > know of your concern.
> >
> >
> >
> > There are e-mail links directly to Government Departments
> >
> > Please help, every e-mail will count
> >
> > Many thanks
> >
> > Karim Jaufeerally
> >
> > ~~~~~~~
> > For directions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list or the
> > digests, please visit, click on Popular on the
> > menu bar, then click on Coral-List Listserver.
> ~~~~~~~
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