TRANSFORMING THE CLOSED New Edgewater Hotel into a “new tourism development” is among suggestions to improve Bathsheba, St Joseph.
Other proposals in the new Bathsheba Community Plan include developing an Interpretive Centre at the Hill Crest archaeological site to celebrate the Amerindian heritage in Bathsheba and the National Park; improving the viewpoint to provide a better visitor experience; capitalising on the tourism potential of the fishing economy in Bathsheba with an improved fish landing site; and connecting Bathsheba to Belleplaine and National Park attractions through a trail network.
The Community Plan was published recently by the Town & Country Development Planning Office. It “provides additional policy direction for Bathsheba’s community core” and “a framework for Bathsheba’s continued development as a local centre and National Park village with a focus on tourism”.
Officials said the Bathsheba plan was the first for the area to be included in the Physical Development Plan, and “builds on direction for Bathsheba as a National Park village in the Physical Development Plan Amended 2003 and the National Park Development Plan”.
“The Community Plan provides policies for Bathsheba related to sustainable development, natural heritage, tourism, mobility, and infrastructure. It is focused on increasing Bathsheba’s amenity and attractiveness as a tourism base from which to explore the surrounding cultural and natural attractions of the National Park,” the document explained.
Town & Country Development Planning Office officials said the closure of New Edgewater Hotel had left “a large abandoned building at the western edge of the Community Plan area”.
“Today Bathsheba faces challenges resulting from the relationship between tourism uses and local needs. The challenges in the Bathsheba Community Plan area include: ensuring that the community has a strong tourist draw; recovering from the closure of New Edgewater Hotel; shaping the tourist economy in a way that provides benefit to locals in terms of economic opportunity and infrastructure provision; [and] preventing the potential negative effects of tourism on the natural landscape,” the community plan stated.
“Development and investment in Bathsheba will improve the quality and diversity of its amenity for both residents and visitors, while respecting its rural character and quality of life.” (SB)