Blacktip Island’s world-renowned west coast beaches may be lost forever if the island flips over due to too much development on its west side, a recent study suggests. (photo courtesy of Ferris Skerritt/Skerritt Construction)
A study released Thursday by a Blacktip Island construction firm revealed the Caribbean island may be in danger of flipping upside down due to the concentration of resorts and other infrastructure on the island’s west coast.
“All that cement, the vehicles, the staff, the pool water and whatnot, it puts a lot of strain on the island’s base,” Skerritt Construction owner Ferris Skerritt said. “We’ve been keeping an eye on it for years. It’s a ticking time bomb.
“At this point, a big influx of tourists to those resorts could cause the island to snap off,” Skerritt said. “I mean, have you seen the size of some of those folks? At that point, Blacktip’d capsize and drown us all. We need to get this island balanced. Pronto.”
Local business owners urged development on the sparsely-developed east coast as a solution.
“We got the Spring Break crowds coming, then the summer crowds,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “For the good of the island and everyone on it, we need more development over on the east side.
“Problem is, building over there’s always been cost-prohibitive, what with that being the weather coast and so far from the airfield,” Rich Skerritt said. “But with some public funds to offset the construction costs, there may still be time to save our island.”
Others business owners concurred.
“I always wanted a resort on the east coast, just couldn’t justify the cost,” Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “I don’t like taking public money, but if it’s for the good of the island, I’ll make the sacrifice.”
Some experts, though, disputed the study’s findings.
“The island’s not going to break loose or flip over,” said Tiperon University-Blacktip geology department chair Ernesto Mojarra. “That’s physically, scientifically impossible. People need to use their noggins.
“Rich and Sandy are just trying to scare people into subsidizing new resorts,” Mojarra said. “And Rich’s brother just wants the construction contracts.”
Some locals remained worried, despite Mojarra’s assurances.
“It’s scary, these experts saying opposite things, especially when it concerns our safety,” Sand Spit bartender Cori Anders said. “With so much controversy, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.
“They say something like this happened near Fiji a few years back,” Anders said. “Stuff like this happens all the time. You just don’t hear about it.”
Other island entrepreneurs are unconcerned.
“If Ernesto’s right, we’re fine,” said Blacktip Haven resort own Elena Havens. “And if Blacktip does turn turtle, well, we’ve already waterproofed the Haven’s rooms so we can be the first full-service underwater resort in the Caribbean.”