Fogging the vision for the east coast
HAVING welcomed the prospect of amendments to this week’s scheduled debate on the creation of an eastern seaboard development agency, to add clarity to a confusing position, the latest, but potentially not the last amendment to be tabled, starts to run the risk of turning the debate into something approaching a farce.
The development agency concept does not appear to be well understood. The Policy & Resources Committee, in its propositions, calls on the States to establish the agency, to be wholly owned by the States, and tasked with the production of a long-term development plan, setting out the options for the provision of infrastructure along Guernsey’s east coast, and then delivering the development associated with these options.
Quite how this happens is less clear. Even the policy letter is vague on operational issues.
‘If the model is not right for Guernsey we can change and adapt it – but we have to take a first step in order to drive investment in our infrastructure and environment, and this is that first step,’ P&R said.
It also warns that the States will have to cede some control over the land, and the potential projects that may emerge.
So is it appropriate that deputies can officially raise development concepts in debate, in the full awareness that the prospect of funding being readily available, certainly from government, is a non-starter?
Is the concept of an under-sea tunnel for traffic from Albert Pier to the North Beach roundabout really a genuine prospect, or a waste of States’ time? Possibly it might be seen as an example of a ‘vanity project’?
Maybe islanders would like to know if such ideas as the tunnel, possibly part-funded through a toll, are the kind of concepts that we want to be explored at this early stage. But why stop there in exploring ideas? What about another new office block in front of Admiral Park? Or even, heaven forbid, the infill of Belle Greve Bay?
This early-stage debate is surely unlikely to be the time or the place to rehearse every single possible development idea for that prime stretch of land between Castle Cornet and the Bridge.