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By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Cotton Bay will have "one of the greatest golf courses in the world" once it opens in 2012, the development's principal yesterday told Tribune Business, with some 65 workers employed on the Eleuthera-based project that has received "millions of dollars" in investment every year for the past eight years.
Speaking to Tribune Business after visiting the project on Sunday, Eleuthera Properties president Franklyn Wilson said that by staying away from bank and debt financing mortgaged on their landholdings, the developers had been able "to weather the storm" from the global recession and emerge stronger.
Pledging that Cotton Ba ...
Freeport, Bahamas -
Welcome to a
Destinations VIDEO tour of the luxurious waterfront residences at Suffolk
Court on Grand Bahama Island with host James Sarles and his Coldwell
Suffolk Court lies within the Freeport area, a 230 square mile tax free zone within Grand Bahama.
96 miles long by 17 miles at its widest point; the Grand Bahama island
offers staggering ocean views, miles of deserted beaches and five golf
courses. The Suffolk Court Bahamas property development is also
adjacent to the famous Xanadu beach resort and Xanadu Hotel.
Grand Bahama is one of the world's best-kept tax haven secrets, with a
stable, democratic government and well-developed infrastructure, the
island enjoys high levels of tourism from the US.
The 2013 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend was a great success, and in the second year managed to more than double the participation from the inaugural year. This year 185 persons participated in the athletic events – including a 1-mile open water swim, a Sprint triathlon, an Olympic triathlon, a kid's 1-mile run, and a 5k/10k fun run/walk.
Anyone registering online for the 2013 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend before February 18th, 2013 will be automatically entered to win a stay at the Treasure Cay Beach, Marina, and Golf Resort, a round-trip ticket to Abaco, or a case of Sands beer.
The developers behind a proposed $220 million golfing community on Cat Island are back at the negotiating table with the government, more than three years after the groundbreaking on the stalled project.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe confirmed that the multi-million-dollar development is now being discussed at the cabinet level.
"The prime minister is undergoing a series of meetings with the developer. We are discussing changes and the possibilities of moving ahead," he noted. "We are unable to speak about when that will take place. However, discussions are ongoing. We are now back at the table. The developers say they are ready to build. Once the legal matters are completed, where all of the i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed, then an official announcement will be made to the public."
Wilchcombe said he is pleased with the progress that has been made so far and believes a project of this magnitude will undoubtedly create linkages that will stimulate economic growth.
"Cat Island is one of those islands that requires a tremendous amount of focus, because if we have an anchor project, it would create linkages that cause economic growth. We want to make it happen," he shared.
Ground was broken on the proposed 1,906-acre oceanfront resort in April 2009, originally set to open in May 2012. However, since then very little work has been done on the development.
The government and developers have yet to reach a formal agreement on the final product.
If approved, Cat Island could be the site of the first ever Professional Golf Association (PGA) village outside of the United States.
It was in 2008 when the PGA of America announced it entered a licensing agreement with Cat Island Partners Ltd., developers of the Cat Island Golf and Beach Resort.
The PGA-licensed property would be owned by Cat Island Partners Ltd., and operated by Southworth Golf, a subsidiary of Southworth Development LLC, of Newton, Massachusetts.
The proposed village would include two 18-hole championship golf courses, a five-star hotel and a variety of residential properties. A tennis center, casino, apartment complex and full-service beach club have also been proposed for the development.
After years of being displaced, local golfers will finally have a place they can call home.
Although the negotiation process is still ongoing, President of the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) James Gomez said it is looking up. He is encouraging local golfers to brush the cobwebs off their golf clubs and return to the greens.
"We have negotiated a lease with the owners of the South Ocean property, the golf course," said Gomez. "The lease itself has not been signed nor has the service agreement, which allows us to begin work prior to the commencement of the lease. But I am confident everything will work in our favor.
"I was in a meeting with the minister of sports who gave assurances that the government will give some support to the federation to secure our position with the leasing of the property. We are moving in the right direction. A number of members have already contributed to assist with the reconditioning of the golf course. We are looking at a positive outcome and the only thing that can stop us right now is the owners. If they are not comfortable with some of the things that we have forwarded to them that will hold us up a bit. But whatever it is, our job is to try and make it work."
The Cable Beach Golf course was the temporary home for the federation. Since closure, local golfers played at the Ocean Club Golf course. As a result, a major decline has been seen especially in New Providence, revealed Gomez.
The president also noted that the BGF's Driving Range is heavily used by local golfers who are not in the financial position to play on a consistent basis over at the Ocean Club Golf course, located on Paradise Island.
Leasing the South Ocean golf course is an expensive venture which has an estimated cost of $300,000. But Gomez is confident that the federation can allocate the funds for a much needed initiative.
Gomez added: "At this particular time we are having difficulties accessing courses. That means that our players, when we go to championships we are not that competitive because they don't play enough competitive rounds and tournaments on an annual basis. Because of that problem our performance in the regional championships is generally subpar. We are looking to improve upon that.
"We are still in the discussion phase. There are a number of companies who have offered assistance, in the form of equipment or otherwise to assist with the reconditioning of the golf course. That is positive. If we are able to get started in the next two weeks or so, the intent is to then branch out, in terms of sponsorship with corporate houses who may be so inclined to sponsor a hole. If they do their company's name will be attached to that hole. At the end of the day the benefit of this golf course is going to be for the entire Bahamas."
According to Gomez, the course will cater to all persons in the western district of the island. He said it will be accessible and affordable to all, not only Bahamians, but visitors that stay along the Cable Beach strip. He believes that the course can be an option for tourist until Baha Mar opens.
There are a lot of things needed to take the sport of golf in the country forward, and the two years provided to elected officials might not be enough time to get the job done. In a few weeks president of the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF), James Gomez and others will cast their votes for the persons who they believe can further assist with the growth and development of the sport.
College students learn about high value positions, selection criteria and how to be the ideal candidate.
Baha Mar sponsored and participated in the 6th annual IBS Build-A-Bridge Challenge thattook place at the College of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre on April 25. Teams from 20 schools throughout The Bahamas competed, building bridges made of Popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue to create the lightest structure that bears the heaviest load before breaking. The Challenge was started by Bahamian engineering company Integrated Building Services (IBS) to increase interest in the applied sciences and to teach soft skills such as teamwork.