The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission Tuesday (April 22) carried out a routine site inspection of the Ritz Carlton project on Rose Island, to ensure the estimated $1 billion development is in keeping with environmental standards.

In order to jump-start the project on Rose Island — a 30-minute boat ride from mainland New Providence — a service dock and marina is to be constructed to facilitate basic infrastructure such as light, water and telephone services.

Ritz Carlton has submitted a preliminary Environmental Managing Plan and an Environment Impact Assessment to the Government. Having reviewed along with our consultants, we were able to approve for them to go forward in constructing the marina, said Deon Stewart, technical officer, BEST Commission.

Out of 235 acres of land, an estimated 165.53 acres is to be transformed to include condo-hotel units, private villas offering both marina and shoreline settings, marina town homes and exclusive estate homes. There will also be a 300-slip marina with full retail and marina services, a helipad, and water ferry services.

The developers are also exploring the use of alternative energy, a reverse osmosis system and a sewerage treatment plant.

A team from the BEST Commission, Engineers Scientists Consultants (ESS) and Ritz Carlton toured the site where preparations for the service dock on the southern shore of the island were underway.

We do a monthly monitoring to ensure that they stick to the parameters. The BEST Commission also examines the water quality level and any breach of environmental or marine regulations, Mr. Stewart said.

The project is being developed by the Florida-based Gencom Group headed by Karim Alibhai. The other aspects of the development are subject to approval. Ritz Carlton is to submit its final proposal in May, 2008.

Overall, from the monthly monitoring we have been doing, so far they have been in compliance with our requirements as far as construction of the marina, Mr. Stewart said.

Should any developer violates environmental guidelines, particularly as it relates to marina construction, the BEST Commission would recommend to the Department of Physical Planning of the Ministry of Works to issue a cease and desist order, pending an investigation, Mr. Stewart said.

Nick Ward, managing director of Ritz Carlton Rose Island Hotel Co. Ltd, said that it is the goal of the developers to remain environmentally friendly. The entire development is expected to be completed by 2011.