A recently rescued Hawksbill turtle at the Ocean Escape Resort and Spa. PHOTO: TE ARA O TE ONU/21011820
A Ngatangiia-based resort fulfilled all the requirements as per the Environment Impact Assessment in the construction of a new salt water pool, confirmed the National Environment Service.
Concerns have been raised about the construction of a salt
water pool with “live coral head in it” by Ocean Escape Resort and Spa.
But National Environment Service manager for compliance
Vavia Tangatataia confirmed the development was done as per the Environment
Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines.
“The saltwater pool is the first of its kind on Rarotonga,
it is chemical free, and the water is circulated straight from the lagoon into
the pool and back.”
Directors of Ocean Escape Resort Jade and Barry Weizman, who
admitted there were people who have concerns with their latest development,
clarified the “pool does not and never did have live coral in it”.
“We understand that some people may have concerns, but we
can assure everyone that our eco-friendly resort and pool have been constructed
with the foremost attention to the protection and benefit of our precious
environment,” they said.
The resort received consent, approval and have been guided
by the National Environment Service to build their ocean water pool, the
Weizman also said they have been encouraged by the
Environment Service’s positive attitude and vision towards the environmental
impact of their idea.
“All the coral rocks in the pool are dead and have been
found underground as we were excavating the pool foundations, some of which we
kept aside in order to place them in the pool.”
The other marine organisms in the pool include some baby
bait/convict fish, cone snails and starfish which they picked from the lagoon
in front of their place – “none of which are protected, endangered or
prohibited in any way”.
organisms are regularly picked by local fishermen as food source compared to us
keeping them alive in a protected environment and in any case over all there
are about two dozen only.”
Weizman said the reason behind having fewer marine organisms
at this stage “is to ensure that the conditions in the pool are correct and has
a healthy environment to support marine life”.
“This has proven invaluable when we participated in the
turtle rescue, as we were confident that our pool can provide this type of safe
“A representative from the Ministry of Marine Resources has
visited us daily during our turtle rescue and has provided us with advice
regarding all of the above.”
According to Weizman, the pool water is being pumped in from
the lagoon in front of their Eco-Resort as required and “there is a small
supply pipe in the lagoon which they dug by hand as per the National
Environment Service guidelines”.