A large, 4-story residential house in West Bay, and its extra bit of garden got the WB Concerned Citizens group worried that the new garden, which has been put down outside the property walls and measures about 6 feet wide, not only encroaches on the historical Mary Mollie Hydes road, but is actually dangerous, causing vehicles joining Town Hall Road to swerve, rather than merge naturally. The development is right at the end of Mary Mollie Hydes Road, where it merges with Town Hall Road.
Executive member of Concerned Citizens, Ezmie Smith, recently wrote an email to officials at the NRA expressing her concern in an email dated 19 December, about the time when the latest development – a small truckload of boulders, was dumped at one end of the new “garden,” which already contains several large palm trees, making it impossible to use the built-on area as part of a public road anymore.
“The community finds the act very wrong,” Ms Smith states in the Email, “It is believed that no permission was granted to do what has occurred. Even if permission was given it is wrong because the affected portion is the merger to allow vehicles to get on the Town Hall Road… tour bus operators and others will find this very inconvenient due to the closure of the West Bay Road where the travel on with tourist for further scenic view of 7 mile beach. What is done could be very dangerous as it allows less space for traveling vehicles, cycle riders and walkers losing their right to use all that portion of the road,” she wrote.
The latest challenge to public access comes on the back of several others in West Bay, and many citizens are upset that encroachment of private property decreasing public access not only to the roadways, but also to public amenities such as the beach.
Concerned Citizen Vicky Dilbert said spoke about the historical and cultural associations of Mary Mollie Hydes Road, and the time-honored access it used to provide to people who wanted to travel from West Bay to George Town, while tour bus operator Ormond Morgan is particularly concerned about what he feels is the danger caused by having to drive out onto Town Hall Road, with insufficient visibility, rather than merge naturally as drivers used to be able to do before the new garden: “There are a couple of issues. The first issue is we are being sort of deprived of stopping here at our leisure; having people on tours, they used to be able to get out here and have some photos taken. Now we are being deprived of that, because when you come to the end of the road here you will see how dangerous it is that you will have to almost get out into the public road with the traffic…From what we see here this is the public road, and I am so disappointed that the officials would allow this to happen, infringing the public’s rights,” he said.