The route of the proposed San Fernando to Point Fortin highway was disclosed in October. According to NIDCO, the proposed highway will be comprised of 6 segments:1) Golconda (end of current highway) to Debe
2) Debe to San Francique
3) San Francique to Siparia Road
4) Siparia Road to Delhi Road (Fyzabad)
5) Delhi Road to SMR at Vance River
6) SMR at Vance River to Dunlop Roundabout (Point Fortin).
From an environmental standpoint, the proposed route is acceptable.
The proposed route of the highway avoids the major areas of environmental concern, including the Morne L’Enfer Reserve, Rousillac Swamp, Godineau Swamp and the South Oropouche Lagoon (the proposed route will cross a very small area of the lagoon at its south-eastern boundary, but this area is not ecologically significant).
One of the initial proposals (Alignment 3) would have taken the highway through the center of the South Oropouche Lagoon, thereby avoiding residential areas. This proposal was rejected because of a greater possibility of unforeseen costs and because of complications with respect to utility installations in the area. Needless to say, this route would have had a severe impact on the wetland. But given the opposition from residents that the proposed (environmentally safe) route has received, a reconsideration of Alignment 3 may not be out of the question entirely.
Update: 01 July 2012
I have overlaid the route of the highway on a capture from Google Maps in an attempt to get a better idea of the impact that it will have on both the South Oropouche Lagoon and the Morne L’Enfer Reserve.
You can download them below:
1) Approximate Debe – Mon Desir route
2) Approximate Mon Desir – Pt. Fortin route
Hunters are usually regarded as indiscriminate destroyers of our wildlife. This is not always the case.
As part of ensuring the sustainable use of Trinidad and Tobago’s wildlife resources, the South-Eastern Hunters Association conducts a fruit tree planting exercise every year. It was held this year on the 26th July with hunters being asked to plant fruit trees in the areas where they hunt and non-hunters were encouraged to plant fruit trees anywhere. The official ceremony took place on Saunder’s Road, Cat’s Hill (off the Rio Claro-Guayaguayare Road). It was expected that approximately 3000 fruit trees would be planted.
Hunting that is practiced for profit (for the wildmeat and pet trade) is destructive. These hunters focus on killing/collecting as many animals as quickly as they can. Sport hunters on the other hand are in it for the challenge. True, both forms result in the death of an animal, but the numbers taken by sport hunting are (in theory) considerably less. Sport hunters have a vested interest in ensuring that wildlife is hunted in a sustainable manner and several members of the hunting association are game wardens, actively working to prevent off season hunting. Internationally there are many hunting associations that are at the forefront of conservation.
The association’s president emphasized the need to develop a system of sustainable wildlife and forestry management. He pointed out the short-comings of current re-afforestation efforts by the Forestry division (which focus on non-native/commercial species) and how it was having a negative impact on forest ecology (reduced canopy cover). In the long run this not only affects Trinidad and Tobago’s wildlife but our water and air quality. The group intends to hold an in-depth seminar in September on this topic. I really must commend the SEHA for their efforts and I encourage everyone to take a second look at our hunters.