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Title: Environment impact assessment for the proposed tourist resort development project in Huruvalhi Island, Lhaviyani Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Tourist resort redevelopment
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing physical environment
Existing natural and biological environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Constructional impacts
Operational impacts
Socio-economic impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Sep-2014
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2014). Environment impact assessment for the proposed tourist resort development project in Huruvalhi Island, Lhaviyani Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the proposed resort development project in Huruvalhi Island, Lhaiyani Atoll. Huruvalhi Island was leased for tourism in 2014 as part of the Ministry of Tourism’s policy to lease small islands within the 10 km of an existing resort for resort development, by the owners of the existing resort. The proponent of this project is Champa Lars Pvt Ltd, which is owned by the shareholders of Kuredhoo Island Resort. The main rationale for the project is to expand tourism in the outer atolls of the Maldives to increase the tourism bed capacity and their contribution to the local and national economic growth. Tourism development lags behinds in Lhaviyani Atoll and this project is expected to increase the speed of development in the atoll. The objective of this project is to develop and operate an extension of the Kuredhoo Island Resort as a five-star resort on Huruvalhi Island Island. The project broadly involves the development and operation of a stand-alone 200 bed extension of Kuredhoo Island. The proposed project covers eight main components: construction of island transport infrastructure; erosion mitigation, construction of the back-of-the-house and administrative infrastructure; construction of guest rooms; construction of guest facilities; construction of utilities – sewerage, power and water infrastructure; landscaping and; resort operations. The project is estimated to take 24 months to complete. All project designs are in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Decentralization Act, Tourism Act, tourism resort development regulations, Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Waste Management Regulation, Regulation on Cutting Down and Uprooting Trees and Dewatering Regulation. Approvals have been granted for the concept by the Ministry of Tourism. Further approvals are required before construction and operations. It is a small island approximately 440 m long and 195 m wide (at its widest point), and has a land area of approximately 8.1 Ha within low tide line in August 2014. The island is generally in natural condition but not in pristine condition. Vegetation has been heavily modified and the water quality is poor. The lagoon and reef environment is in pristine condition. There are large areas of live coral cover on the reef slopes. The island has a generally calm embayment in the reef on the northern side which has been proposed as the main jetty area. No dredging is required. The beach environment on the southern side is in poor condition with very limited dry beach and ongoing severe erosion. Severe erosion is also prevalent on the northwest corner of the island. Erosion mitigation and beach mitigation are required. The negative impacts from this project are typical impacts associated with resort development in Maldives. The most significant impact from this project during construction stage would be the damage to coral reef doe to over water construction activities, removal of limited vegetation, excavation and dewatering, changes to coastal processes due to coastal developments, degradation of the terrestrial and marine environment due to the worker activities, lost marine life due to overwater construction and disposal of waste. Main social impacts include potential conflicts with the atoll public if equal job opportunity is not available for construction stage or operations stage of the resort. Negative impacts during operations stage are the impacts on marine flora and fauna due to potentially high number of vessels using the lagoon, impacts on the beach due significant erosion and accretion patterns and social impacts associated with foreign workers or general lack of opportunities. Apart from the impacts from this project on the environment, the coastal environment itself will have a major impact on the project itself. Erosion is likely to continue and if left unprotected, it will pose challenges and economic losses for the operation of the property. Beach will have may have to be created artificially in the future to mitigate erosion. If the coastal structures are erected, it will reduce the aesthetic beauty of the island and will permanently alter the coastal processes. The project mainly has positive socio-economic benefits, including increased direct and indirect job opportunities and tourism growth. The key mitigation measures proposed for the construction stage include finding options to mitigate severe erosion on the island. A number of mitigation measures have been proposed in this assessment to mitigate the most significant impacts associated with the development, including reef clearance, worker activities, vegetation removal, marine construction, excavation works and utilities operation. Alternative options were evaluated for the activities that are identified to have significant impacts on the project. Alternative options have been proposed mitigate erosion and preference has been given to shore protection and future consideration to undertake beach replenishment. Alternative options assessment for beach replenishment showed that more detailed assessments are required and additional approvals are recommended once more details are available. An alternative jetty has also been recommended on the south as the northern side may not be accessible year-round. Consultations were held with the island councils and some members of the public of Hinnavaru. In addition, consultations were made with the two nearest resorts (Komandoo Island Resort and Kuredhoo Island Resort) and Ministry of Tourism. This project has strong support from the island communities and all site plans have been seen by the Island Councils. There is a general dissatisfaction due to the slow pace of resort development projects in the atoll. There were also concerns raised about lack of picnic islands, but they were generally willing to sacrifice such needs in return for economic benefits. The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition, provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities. Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the physical environment as well as operational aspects of the resort. The total cost of mitigation and monitoring are estimated between US$10,000 per year. The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed development after with the proposed alternatives and the suggested mitigation measures.
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