On to the boardwalk

Guyana Chronicle
January 21, 2000

THE boardwalk project on the cards for a large section of the Georgetown seawall is pregnant with promise for lifting the fortunes of the city.

It has tremendous potential as a revenue-earner and could be another tourist attraction, along the lines of similar, although much grander schemes in other countries.

The famous Bayside in Miami is a must-visit for tourists there, offering a wide range of restaurants, bars, clubs and entertainment on the seafront.

Much larger than the concept of the proposed Georgetown seawall boardwalk, it's run as a business venture and has its peak seasons when cruise ships stop by in large numbers and hordes of tourists descend on Miami.

Georgetown won't be looking to swarms of huge cruise ships to crowd its boardwalk with visitors but it can offer its own smaller scale entirely or largely Guyanese affair.

Boardwalks are also good business ventures elsewhere in the United States, like in New Jersey where casino gambling and related entertainment plays a major role.

Bigger does not necessarily mean better and Guyana should not be aiming for a boardwalk project on as grand a scale as those in the U.S.

The seawall in the city has long been a favourite place for relaxation, strolling, lazing for many. And in the current keep fit craze, it is the spot for the exercise buffs and regular strollers.

But it is also prime real estate not being put to its full use and the boardwalk idea may be just the thing to help the area realise its full potential.

There have been other projects to beautify the place and to increase its revenue-earning billing but the Georgetown seawall can be much more than a `bubble session' and `boom box' party venue on Easter and other holidays.

It can also do better than being a hideaway for lovers or couples needing to be alone in cars or other vehicles for a while.

New Trade, Tourism and Industry Ministry, Mr Geoff DaSilva brings with him a reputation for boundless energy and a knack for getting things done.

He has already shown his flair for bringing off big affairs like the brainchild of his late predecessor, Mr Michael Shree Chan, the Main Big Lime on Main Street, Georgetown last month, and his enthusiasm for the boardwalk scheme is already obvious.

Responsibility for the project is now with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry and its thrust is to commercially develop parts of the sea wall, while leaving some of the structure in its natural state.

Mr Da Silva says there are a number of exciting suggestions on how the matter should be approached, one of which is to lease the area to one person who would then rent it out in lots.

Another, he said, is to set up a governing board comprising members of both the government and the private sector. This board would parcel the area out in lots and rent them out.

Involving businesses and other key players would be critical to pulling off the venture.

If the city was looking for a project to greet the year 2000, this could be it.

Its exciting possibilities readily commend it as the way to go.

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