From: Associated Press
Published February 20, 2007 06:53 AM

British Virgin Islands Approves Luxury Resort Despite Strong Opposition

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands -- The British Virgin Islands has approved construction of a high-end resort and golf course that would take up most of a largely uninhabited island, the territory's government announced.


Developers of the Beef Island Golf & Country Club Resort, a roughly 650-acre project, received government approval mid-February after months of sustained debate in the British Caribbean territory of some 22,000 people.


Chief Minister Orlando Smith championed the $80 million project, which government leaders approved in principle in 2005, as vital to the islands' tourism sector.


"Yes, we must protect our environment -- but we must also think about creating jobs, growing our economy and securing our tourism industry for the future," said Smith, the government leader in the territory. Biologists in a documentary commissioned by the British Virgin Islands Conservation and Fisheries Department said pollution and habitat destruction caused by the resort would damage important marine breeding grounds off an island famed for pristine reefs and mangrove forests.


Source: Associated Press


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