IDC to build airstrip on Desnoeufs Island in Seychelles, classified as Important Bird Area
The island supports a breeding population of 430,000 pairs of sooty terns and a large number of boobies. (Islands Development Company)
Seychelles' Islands Development Company (IDC) is planning to build an airstrip on Desnoeufs, an outlying island, to facilitate the transportation of its staff, the chief executive of the company said on Wednesday.
Glenny Savy told reporters in a press conference that this is a project that will get underway soon on one of the main islands where bird eggs were collected for local consumption over the years.
The subject has been met with a lot of contention due to the possible effect such a development could have on the migratory bird population on the island.
Desnoeufs, which is an island in the Amirantes Group located 321 km south of Seychelles' main island of Mahe, has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International. The island supports a breeding population of 430,000 pairs of sooty terns and a large number of boobies.
"We want to build an airstrip on the island, to allow us to rotate our staff every month as it is tough to work on the island. We have studied all aspects of the project and we have received planning permission despite some discontent from certain sectors of the public. One thing we will not do is land planes there during the birds' breeding season,'' explained Savy.
He also talked about other projects that IDC is undertaking on other islands, especially those geared toward tourism, the top pillar of the Seychelles' economy.
On the small luxury eco-tourism hotel project on the Grand Barbe area located on the northwest coast of Silhouette Island, Savy said that three foreign investors have expressed interest for concept development for the area and that he was disappointed that no Seychellois investors had expressed interest.
|Grand Barbe is located on the northwest coast of Silhouette Island. (Islands Development Company, Facebook) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
The call for investors for the project was launched in September 2022 for the small hotel that should have no more than 25 rooms, a solar facility to produce electricity, as well as an excellent sewage and waste system in place.
The investment could total up to $12.5 million, according to IDC.
Grand Barbe has one of the largest wetlands in Seychelles, which includes a sprawling mangrove forest that provides an important refuge for an abundance of aquatic life.
Savy said that "there is also the hotel development of Ile Platte, which is actually ahead of schedule and expected to be completed by August this year, and the hotel could open in November."
The Waldorf Astoria Platte Island, a $100 million development due to be managed by the Hilton Hotels & Resorts group, will be the first six-star resort in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Once completed the resort will offer 42 seafront villas all equipped with private pools. Guests will have access to six restaurants and bars, a spa, a kids' club, an outdoor observatory, tennis courts and a marine conservation discovery centre.
New islands to be managed by IDC
IDC has also been tasked with protecting three islands that are not part of those the company is already managing.
"There are three small islands, namely Etoile, Boudeuse and African Banks, where due to no activity on them, there was a lot of exploitation of birds and turtles. The government has, therefore, asked us to take the responsibility of protecting these three islands and help maintain them," said Savy.
The three islands lie in the Amirantes Group and are also all identified as Important Bird Areas (IBA) by BirdLife International.
Savy also announced that IDC will start moving to its new building in April leaving its location at New Port in Victoria, which they have been using for over 35 years.
The new building will be located on the reclaimed island of Ile Du Port and will house all their operations, aside from the air operations, which will be based at a new location along the Seychelles International Airport.
The move to a new location for the air operations comes about due to the increased space needed as IDC wants to bring in new and larger aircraft.