It remains unclear whether Cane Garden Bay beach (above, earlier this month) is open or closed.File photo: CLAIRE SHEFCHIK

Despite tests showing improved water quality, the fate of Cane Garden Bay beach remains unclear.

During a community meeting last week concerning the new sewerage plant in CGB, Second District Representative Mitch Turnbull said an official statement on the beach would be forthcoming on Monday of this week.

“The testing has been done and the last two tests have improved significantly,” he said.

He added that he would be meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour last Friday “on the issue surrounding the beach closure” to settle the closure question “once and for all.”

He added, “We are moving in the right direction. I just want us to understand that even though this problem existed before, we also have to take into account that the hurricane has passed.”

However, as of Beacon press time yesterday afternoon, no statement had been issued as promised, and attempts to reach Mr. Turnbull this week were unsuccessful.

Open and closed

In December, the beach was temporarily closed due to poor water quality, which, according to a statement from acting Chief Conservation Officer Kelvin Penn, may have resulted from heavy rainfall, hurricane-related storm surge and a nonfunctioning sewage treatment plant.

After further tests were performed, the government declared the beach open in a press release on Jan. 22, but quickly retracted it, and an information officer clarified that the beach was in fact closed.

Nevertheless, passengers from the cruise ship Marella Celebration were driven to the beach on Jan. 22.

CGB has long been the most visited beach on Tortola, but the area suffered severe damage in the hurricane and continues to rebuild.