Islands Development Company (IDC) welcomed a first group of guests to Farquhar on Tuesday this week. The island had been closed to visitors for the past eighteen months for reconstruction work following catastrophic damage caused to the infrastructure of the island by cyclone Fantala in April 2006.
The ten guests arrived on the island on board IDC’s aircraft which will now operate weekly flights to Farquhar. Guests come to Farquhar mostly for fly-fishing. Fly fishing operator Fly Castaway, which markets the guesthouse to fly fishermen, has rented the guesthouse for an initial period of eight weeks.
IDC CEO, Glenny Savy, expressed his satisfaction on the arrival of the guests, saying, “It’s a great achievement for us given the amount of damage that was caused to the infrastructure on Farquhar and the time frame that we did it in. We’ve done a good job in getting the guest house and the island infrastructure back to operating condition. So at least now the island will start generating some revenue, which is very important for IDC. The fact that we will have weekly flights to the island now means that communication and access to the island will improve significantly.”
IDC has had to completely rebuild several of the buildings on the island including the guest house, several workers houses, generator and desalination rooms and shops. All buildings on the island now have concrete roofs to make them as cyclone proof as possible.
Mr. Savy shared that there was still more construction work to complete as well as the revegetation of the island. “Most importantly, we have also started work on the replanting programme,” Mr. Savy revealed. “We have done a lot of clearing – about 30% of North Island – and tree planting will now start with the arrival of rains, which are expected any time soon. The vegetation management plan, with the assistance of UNDP has been done for Farquhar. The revegetation plan will probably take anything between three to five years. It’s going to be a long process because we can only plant during the rainy season. During the dry season we do clearing in preparation for the planting for the following rainy season. It’s nice to see that things are back on line because those who liked to work on Farquhar are now back in their jobs.”