A planned community called the Briland Club would irrevocably change the character of this special island, famous the world over for its pristine ocean beach, sparkling bay, and historic charm.
The scale of this threat has only recently become clear. As originally proposed by its California-based developer, the project on the grounds of the old Harbour Island Marina was to have consisted of a 28-room hotel, ten villas, and a large dock screened by mangrove trees. It was on this basis that the developer secured government approval in 2017. But the development has since grown massively in scope.
Briland Club is now being marketed as a community of 83 private residences that would span the entire width of the island, from bay to beach, on 27 acres. The expanded plan (as advertised in the Spring of 2019) would include two clubhouses, a wellness center and spa, three restaurants, swimming pools, a 300-foot manmade canal, and a massive, breakwater-protected marina with docking space for 250-foot “mega yachts”—and far fewer mangroves. Even if yachts of that size did not require dredging a new channel in the harbor—an open question at this point —the marina inevitably would degrade water quality and sea grasses that are essential habitat for turtles and fish.
Moreover, the project would further strain the infrastructure of an island already suffering from acute shortages of water, power, and affordable housing (to say nothing of parking spaces in Dunmore Town). Though the government has yet to give final approval to the new plan, the developer appears to have confidence that it will do so, since he already is marketing the project as a fait accompli while touting its purported benefits to the local economy.
We understand as well as anyone the importance of jobs. But the economic benefits of short-term construction work will quickly fade, while the very qualities that make the island so attractive to visitors—and thus critical to its long-term economic health—will be irreparably harmed. We support smart, low-impact development that respects its surroundings and the environment. The Briland Club in its current form does neither and we need your help to protect Harbour Island from this threat.
To learn more, visit https://www.br-island.org
HARBOUR ISLAND NOW: What is at risk
BRILAND CLUB EXPANSION PLANS: The initial footprint, on the left, and the footprint being marketed in the Spring of 2019. Source: ‘Paradise Lost’