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South Abaco Development Growth Linked to Stable Economy

February 10th, 2011

Residential and commercial real estate developments in South Abaco have expanded steadily over the past two years. Despite the residual effects of the global economic and financial downturn, The Bahamas’ domestic economic conditions stabilized during 2010, with the economy expected to grow by 2% to 2.5% in 2011, according to Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, in his address to the 2011 Bahamas Business Outlook.

The past year clearly demonstrated South Abaco as an environment favorable to the strengthening and diversification of the nation’s economy:

With 90% of its infrastructure complete, Serenity Point’s environmentally friendly residential community is one of the many success stories of economic growth in South Abaco:

The community is designed for luxury using the latest in sustainable technology, with features such as:

  • Design techniques that save energy and preserve water
  • Solar-powered golf carts
  • Indigenous tropical landscaping

OceanHome Magazine highlighted Serenity Point as a Development of the Month, Publisher’s Choice. And The Bahamas Investor covered Serenity Point’s development as an example of the resurgence currently being enjoyed by Abaco—one of the fastest growing islands in The Bahamas.

With work steadily underway at Serenity Point and the neighbouring commercial center of Schooner Bay Village, the community is looking forward to another year of growth and prosperity in South Abaco.

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Abaco’s Development Continues

November 9th, 2010

The latest editions of the Abaconian (PDF) and The Tribune featured lots of exciting news about development in Abaco.

Revised Airport Terminal Plans
Revised airport terminal plans were presented to stakeholders, with a bigger and more expensive terminal than the initial plans. The new airport will be 39,000 square feet, with the terminal accounting for about 32,000 square feet – 10 times the size of the current terminal. It will cost $15 million, an increase of $3 million from the initial plans. The new plans also include 2 restaurants, 4 kiosks, 4 car rental booths, 7 retail areas, and a VIP lounge next to the check-in area. Construction on the terminal starts at the beginning of 2011.

Abaco’s Growth Was Featured at “Business Outlook”
The 7th annual Abaco Business Outlook was held on September 22 on the topic Strengthening Abaco’s Economy. Presenters came from government and the private sectors and all were positive about Abaco’s growth.

  • Plans were revealed for a $12 million shopping mall that will be built near Central Pines in Dundas Town. Construction on the mall will start mid 2011.
  • According to Abaco’s Tourism Minister, Abaco Tourism is working to reduce airfare to Abaco from the United States. He also noted that visitors to Abaco were up 12 percent from the previous year.
  • The Tourism Minister announced that Tourism is employing branding strategy that is designed to set apart each Out Island as its own destination.

Robin Hood’s $30- $40m growth plan
Robin Hood, the popular discount supermarket, has revealed that their expansion plan includes investing a further $30-$40 million over the next four years to expand the retailer’s total Bahamian store portfolio from the current two to six. Sandy Schaefer, in an interview with Tribune Business said, “We’re looking for another four to five acres to build our own shopping center, probably somewhere in the south … Our logical next step will be Abaco.”

Family Islands Transport Enhancement Project launched
The Bahamas Government in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) officially launched the Family Islands Transport Enhancement Project during the opening ceremony for a workshop for stakeholders on October 14. Part of the project includes a technical assistance grant of $37,000 from CDB to facilitate preparation of feasibility studies and designs for new commercial ports in Abaco and a road link between Little and Great Abaco.

Progress continues at Schooner Bay
Phase One of Schooner Bay is well underway. In particular, the excavation of two large basins is complete. One will be used to provide the community fresh water and the other will be used as a composting heap for The Commons (Schooner Bay’s agricultural sector) and residential landscaping. Other developments include the harbor opening to the ocean in Winter 2011, and a local artist, Antonius Roberts is working to develop an art center. He is hoping to create an interest in art and maybe even encourage art tourism in Abaco.

Broad Creek Restoration Project
Friends of the Environment partnered with Dr. Craig Layman and his research team from Florida International University to restore a vital tidal creek and wetland area near Serenity Point. A total of 510 students and adults assisted in reclaiming approximately 28 acres of wetlands that had been fragmented by the road.

This project would not have been possible without the generosity of Ministry of Works, Big Cat, Adele and Timmy McDonald, The Nature Conservancy, Schooner Bay, and Serenity Point. The participation of FIU was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Overall, excellent, positive news about Abaco’s growth.

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Growth and Prosperity in Abaco

September 15th, 2010

Abaco’s growth and prosperity continue to climb in yet another noteworthy series of development milestones.

Airlift acquisition targets Out Islands
Bahamas Tribune
US-based AvStar Aviation is hoping to open up airlift to Abaco from West Palm Beach by year-end, in a bid to expand the operations of recently-acquired Twin Air Calypso, which has serviced the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale for more than 50 years … the new service—frequently travelled by West Palm and Abaco residents—could deliver 100 individuals to Abaco four days per week through scheduled service.

Abaco to get community hospital
The Freeport News
The Ministry of Health is placing greater focus on the medical needs of family island patients and plans to construct two new state-of-the-art community hospitals on Abaco and Exuma. The community hospital on Abaco will make it much easier for residents to gain access to medical care and in many cases, avoid having to travel to New Providence.

Maxwell’s Grocery re-opens in Marsh Harbour
Bahama Islands Info
When the popular Maxwell’s Grocery burned down on the night of July 21st 2008 many wondered if this was the end. But on August 13th a brand-new, sparkling, and spacious Maxwell’s re-opened in Marsh Harbour to rave reviews.

38% Crown Land revenue increase
Bahamas Tribune
“The Parcel Information Management System (PIMS) is fully being implemented and will contribute to the efficient functioning of the local land markets in support of private sector development, including facilitation of foreign investment, thereby contributing directly to the objectives of the bank’s strategy for the Bahamas,” the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said. “Geographic profiles of Andros, Inagua and Abaco represent a good point of departure for land use and natural resources management.”

Travel Off the Cuff – Expect the Unexpected on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island
The Province
Like fly-fishing southern Alberta’s Bow River, flats fishing off Great Abaco, the Bahamas’ third-largest island, is also world class, says avid Calgary fly fisherman Dave Byler … Excellent fishing is just one reason the retired Suncor Energy vice-president and wife Carol decided to invest in emerging Schooner Bay Harbour Village in southern Great Abaco.

Contract signed for architectural design of Marsh Harbour Airport Terminal
Nassau Guardian
Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant signed a $600,000 contract with the Architects Incorporated Company for the architectural design of the Marsh Harbour Airport terminal building and fire/crash facility. The current 3,315 square foot building will be replaced with a new 24,000 square foot single-storey terminal and fire crash facility immediately west of the existing terminal.

Walker’s Cay dream gets green light as Bahamas Investment Authority approves plans
Bahamas Island Info
A multi-million dollar bid to revive the once-famed Walker’s Cay fishing and diving resort, which would create “a minimum” of 200 jobs for Bahamians, has been approved by the Bahamas Investment Authority.

Furniture Plus announces the opening of its beautiful third home in Abaco
Bahama Islands Info
The walls are freshly painted. The furniture boutiques are all in place. Shiny rows of appliances stand at attention. And the doors to the newest Furniture Plus location at Maxwell’s Plaza in Marsh Harbour are open … With all newly-hired Abaconians manning the richly appointed 20,000 square foot showroom and shoppers excitedly streaming in, there is no sign of an economic downturn anywhere to be seen.

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Road less traveled: Abaco Islands

August 11th, 2010

The latest mention of Serenity Point appeared over the weekend in Road less traveled: Abaco Islands: Where Bahama mamas and papas go to relax by Ruth Bashinsky (NY Daily News, Sunday, August 8th 2010).

South Abaco Shoreline

Abaco, the third largest island in the Bahamas and the sailing capital of the world, is a prime destination for Bahamians looking to relax.

The 120-mile-long coastline, 20,000-acre nature preserve, and 17 Blue Holes makes Abaco a perfect destination for boaters, scuba divers, snorkelers, fishing enthusiasts, bird lovers and beachgoers. There is no shortage of short-term rentals, but for seasonal residents, second-home buyers and those looking for a permanent home in a safe, relaxed environment, South Abaco is a prime real estate location.

In addition to  Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a Ritz Carlton facility,  The Delphi Club, a new luxury bone-fishing lodge built in the style of an 18th-century plantation, and Schooner Bay Village, an urban, eco-friendly harbor village, there is Serenity Point.

Serenity Point Main Road

Another project gaining attention is the eco-friendly Serenity Point, a private beachfront community located on Schooner Bay Beach and developed by Canadian real estate magnate Alexis Nihon 2nd.  The multimillion dollar project includes 46 homesites built on beach, ridge or hilltop sites that start at $230,000. The exclusive community not only offers spectacular sunrise and sunset views but, a full-service beach clubhouse, an infinity pool, tennis courts and a concierge service that include private chefs, butlers, yacht charters and fishing trips.

Read the Full Article…

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Summer in Abaco

July 22nd, 2010

Summer in Abaco is full of festivities. Are you ready for fun in the sun?

KiteBoard.com at Serenity Point

July 24th-26th
4th Annual North Abaco Summer Festival & Power Boat Race

Cheer on the fastest boats on the sea! Contestants travel from throughout the Bahamas to vie for top spot and bragging rights. This 3-day event at Regatta Village, Treasure Cay, includes local music, foods and games.
Contact Clifton Bootle, phone 242-475-3275.

August 27
Junkanoo Summer Festival

The Junkanoo Summer Festival is four weeks of festivities—starting in June and continuing into August. Join the party on August 27, Goombay Park, Marsh Harbour, from 6 pm to midnight. In addition to great bands, the celebration includes Bahamian food, local arts and crafts, cultural activities, games and giveaways.
Contact the Tourist Office for details, 367-3067.

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Junkanoo Summer Festival

July 14th, 2010

Junkanoo

The Junkanoo Summer Festival is four weeks of festivities—starting in June and continuing into August. If you missed the most recent party on July 9, mark your calendar for August 27, Goombay Park, Marsh Harbour, from 6 pm to midnight.

In addition to great bands, the celebration includes Bahamian food, local arts and crafts, cultural activities, games and giveaways.

Recent performances included:

  • The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marching and Pop Bands
  • Awy
  • New Entry Band
  • Brown Tip
  • Matellus and Fontella Chipman
  • Geno D
  • Elon Moxey
  • Impact Band
  • T-Time Rake and Scrap
  • Lucious Dame (Fire Dance)

In addition to the great bands listed above, watch for the Abaco Talent Search and Junkanoo parade. Contact the Tourist Office for more details, 367-3067.

Are you ready for summer?

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What’s New in Abaco

June 14th, 2010

The World Billfish Series has a number of upcoming events, including

  • BBC Boat Harbour, June 9-12 @ Boat Harbour
  • Abaco Cay Billfish Tournament, June 13-18 @ Boat Harbour

Coconuts along the ShoreSince healthy oceans support the billfish we so enjoy, we’re pleased that part proceeds from the opening of the Disneynature film Oceans (April 22-28) were directed to The Nature Conservancy Bahamas Program to assist with coral reef protection through the expansion and management of new marine parks in The Bahamas. The Disneynature/TNC partnership has already resulted in $350,000 towards the Bahamas Protected Area Fund.

The Disneynature film is one example of how environmental stewardship is promoted to adults and children. In Abaco, that stewardship is seen on many levels.

On Wednesday May 12th, members of the Discovery Club were awarded their Weather Badge as well as their Endangered Species Badge.

Discovery Club is an after-school, badge-earning program for children aged 7-12. Designed by The Bahamas National Trust, it is organized in Abaco by Friends of the Environment and run by two wonderful instructor/volunteers Alana Carrol and Joy Chaplin.

Discovery Club picks up again in September, but over the summer Friends of the Environment are hosting environmental summer camp in north, central and south Abaco. Camp dates run from July 13 to July 23. For more information please call 367-2721 or email info@friendsoftheenvironment.org.

Environmental stewardship is not only for children. Research biologists from the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation (BMMRO) have been conducting a long-term study tracking marine mammals around the Bahamas since 1991.

Currently based in Sandy Point, Abaco, this project provides the only comprehensive data on marine mammals in this part of the world. This year BMMRO will be hosting a 5-day Whale Expedition for adults from July 25-30. Participants will have the opportunity to work alongside marine mammal biologists and learn firsthand about species identification, research methods and results, and conservation issues.

There will be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 participants. The cost will depend on the number of participants but will range from $110-160/day per person, which covers everything except travel to Sandy Point, dinner at a local restaurant 1 night (approx $20) and any alcoholic beverages. For more information please contact Diane Claridge at diane.claridge@gmail.com

If you know of any other environmental programs or events in Abaco, please add them to the comments field below.

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Ask a Local: Patti Gonsalves

April 15th, 2010

Ask a Local is a series in our blog that looks at life in Abaco. Today’s local is Patti Gonsalves who writes Today in Abaco.

patti-gonsalvesPatti Gonsalves is another perfect local to provide insight into our “Out Island” as she and her husband, Mark, have lived in Abaco for 10 years and are permanent residents of the Bahamas.

The couple owns and operates Cruise Abaco and Watercolours Cottages on Lubbers Quarters, an outer Cay off of Marsh Harbour. They volunteer with Friends of The Environment and help to preserve Abaco’s protected reef parks. Patti also owns Sea Gems Jewelry, which specializes in sterling and fine silver with reclaimed Abaco beach glass. “I sell to many local shops here — treasure hunting on beaches is my passion,” says Patti.

Patti and Mark were drawn to Abaco because of “the people and the lifestyle. The simplicity of living here is wonderful and crime is virtually non-existent.”

One of the Patti’s favorite local attractions is the Sea Of Abaco, which she explains as “a totally unique protected body of water that allows for boating almost any given day, surrounded by islands for exploring everywhere. Our reefs here are some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean as they are so alive and vibrant.”

sea of abaco sunset 3

And for guests coming in for a very brief time, Patti recommends a “daysail and a trip to one of our gorgeous reefs for snokeling. I also would suggest, if they are game, that a day offshore fishing or inland bonefishing would be fun.”

In general, Patti feels that “Abaco is the place for anyone looking for great boating, sailing, fishing, diving and snorkeling.”

Abaco Dec 2009 LOBSTER BABY 010

“There are great resorts and restaurants to visit throughout Abaco. There are no cruise ships and there is no gambling, which is why they call this “The Family Islands.” Nightlife is available if you want it, but it’s not the focus,” remarks Patti.

As for events happening on the island, the best way to know what’s going on is to ask. “People are so friendly here and are more than happy to help you find the adventure you desire.”

Patti Gonsalves can be found at:
Today in Abaco
Cruise Abaco

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The New York Times: Serenity Point Beach Development

March 23rd, 2010

The New York Times‘ “Breaking Ground” section covers projects, planned or under construction, that include weekend or vacation homes. “Breaking Ground” recently featured Serenity Point.

Serenity Point Beach Club

By Nick Kaye
Published on March 18, 2010

Read the Full Article.

This new development, not far south of Marsh Harbour on the island’s eastern coast, covers 40 gated acres with 24 homes on lots that range from about half an acre to more than one and a half acres. Seven of the lots front the beach; the rest overlook the Atlantic from hills.

After selecting a site, buyers can choose either to have houses designed by the development’s architectural partner — Chancey Design Partnership, based in Tampa, Fla. — or to commission designs independently while adhering to guidelines…

The beach club, which will include an infinity pool, is expected to be completed this year, and a concierge service will arrange for butlers, private chefs, yacht charters and fishing trips.

Schooner Bay Village, an area of restaurants, shops and inns that will also include a marina, is currently under construction adjacent to the development.

Read the Full Article.

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Millions of Dollars of Investment into Abaco

March 11th, 2010

The Nassau Guardian reported that two government contracts have been given the go ahead, which brings into Abaco and Freeport millions of dollars of investment.

For Abaco, that contract is for the construction of a $19.2 million 64,390 sq.ft. government office complex. Almost 300 construction jobs are likely to result from this project which will also create additional spin off jobs in the economy.

Director of the National Insurance Board, Algernon Cargill, which has financed both the Abaco and Freeport projects, said that the developments represented a sound investment by the national fund.

Abaco and Freeport contracts to bring 100s of jobs
Nassau Guardian
Monday Februray 22, 2010
By Scott Armstrong

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham travelled to Marsh Harbour, Abaco, to witness the signing of the contract to build the new National Insurance Board headquarters, part of a wider plan to kickstart the economy of the area.

At that ceremony he said: “We determined to place this new administrative complex on a green site so as to represent the commencement of the development of a new township in Central Abaco.

“We expect that the concentration of government offices, and hence services in this location will spur the development of commerce making the area the principal point of commerce in Central Abaco.”

Read the full article.

In addition to the government administrative complex, space is allocated for the development of other important public facilities including a police and fire station, a community hospital, a court complex and a public library. Plus, commercial space is set aside to accommodate a bank and other commercial facilities and enterprises.

Keeping with Abaco’s sustainable interests, the new township will have ample, open, green space, with areas reserved for passive enjoyment, as well as recreational activities.

“As Abaco’s economy continues to strengthen and grow I expect that persons from around The Bahamas will continue to come to work and live among us here in Abaco,” said the PM.

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