Yes, more hotels for Busua!! Guess someone knows something about the future of tourism that I haven’t learned yet. If more people are investing money in the sector they must have heard that we are soon going to be deluged by tourists, something that we have not seen so far.  So that can only mean good things for all of us, right?

Well, aside from the question of economic viability, there are a few concerns that these new hotels raise. If you look at the photos above and below, you will see three hotels under construction. In the foreground is the latest entre into the search for tourism dollars, a partnership of two Italians and a Ghanaian that, according to the contractor, will offer between 13 and 15 rooms.

The roof in the background is for another two storey hotel which faces onto the ocean. Work on it was stopped several years ago by Town and Planning for a lack of building permit. The owner, a Ghanaian living abroad, has returned to Ghana recently and is currently in a tussle with the chief and with Town and Planning as she tries get access from her property to the roadside. Notice that her access, which was already blocked by the electrical pole now will be further limited to a narrow walkway by the new building that is underway.

The third hotel is to the right of the others. Work on it was also stopped several years ago for lack of a building permit. Access to that hotel was also being restricted by other buildings.

Access – something that common sense should instruct developers that is their responsibility to ensure long before a project is undertaken. Access – something that common sense should instruct Town and Planning officers that should be a requirement before any building permit is every issued.

And what about water and sewage? Busua is not serviced by piped water yet and thus relies on shallow wells. Busua village already experiences water shortages during the rainy season in the past and with an increasing population in the village and with added pressure from new hotels, the situation will most certainly become more critical. Water quality will also become a problem, not only from salinization which follows as the water table is depleted but more alarmingly from sewage contamination when septic tanks and their soak-aways are placed in closer and closer proximity to wells.

Does anyone see what I see? Who is taking responsibility for this situation that continues? Would it be so difficult for Town and Planning officers to tell developers that they are not allowed to build their dreams? Are they so strapped for development projects that they are willing to approve anything that comes across their desk? I don’t thing so. Do we feel sorry for developers who blind themselves to the most obvious requirements for such a project? I don’t think so.

There are many of us in the hospitality sector in this Region who have gone through the proper channels when constructing our businesses. We were guided by common sense and by building codes and we worked with authorities to ensure that our structures met requirements, and we should expect that newcomers be subjected to the same guidelines. We count on Town and Planning officers to carry out their duties with proper diligence to ensure that tourism in our communities continues to be a positive force for healthy economic development. We are watching.