Barbados’ premier natural attraction, Harrison’s Cave, was officially reopened last Saturday, after being redeveloped at a cost of just under $85,000,000. Prime Minister David Thompson, in delivering the feature address, said that approximately 70 per cent of the funding for the Cave was supplied by the Caribbean Development Bank, in the form of a loan to Caves of Barbados Limited (CBL). He pointed out that in order to protect the Cave, it was imperative that green principles be incorporated not only into its design and construction, but also into the everyday operations. “It was therefore essential to establish a Zone of Special Environmental Control, to ensure we do not endanger this delicate ecosystem in the process of developing the site. From the trams that are electronically powered, to the incorporation of solar panels in the structure, green energy has been used to provide power on site. Even the external lights are triggered to come on by the use of sensors, when natural illumination falls below a pre-determined level,” he observed.
The Prime Minister noted that in addition to this, low wattage lighting had been employed in the cave, and water was supplied for irrigation purposes through the capture of rainwater from the roof and the hard surfaces on the cliff-top. Describing the redevelopment project as a model for the greening of Barbados, Mr. Thompson revealed that it incorporated composting of green wastes from the landscaping and site maintenance activities. There is also a collection system for recyclables. “Natural wood and stone products have been utilised throughout the site and the natural vegetation of the area has been maintained wherever possible,” he stated.
Prime Minister Thompson challenged other developers to be as green in their developments, and encouraged all Barbadians to “green-up Barbados to help preserve our natural heritage, but moreso, to save money!”He maintained that the new facilities were intended to not only make the functions of Harrison’s Cave more efficient and effective, but specifically, to add significant educational and entertainment value to the cave experience for touring patrons.