As a green resort, The Meridian Club on Pine Cay supported environmental conservation as a matter of conscience long before it became fashionable to do so.
We’ve used electric golf carts for island transportation for some 35 years. As a green resort, we had strict building guidelines, including set-backs from the beach, long before the Turks and Caicos Islands government passed legislation on the subject and our guidelines still surpass government requirements in most respects. We’ve strictly limited the number of homes on our private island resort and steadfastly resisted pressure to enlarge our hotel. Most of the island is designated green space and will remain so. We’ve separated recyclables for years. Almost all occupied buildings on the island have rain water catchment and storage systems, including the hotel and some use solar hot water heaters. Air conditioning is prohibited in private homes unless necessary for medical reasons.
Recently, we have taken advantage of new green technology and made operational changes to further our role as stewards of the Turks and Caicos environment. Compact fluorescent light bulbs have been installed throughout the hotel and clubhouse and in staff facilities. Reusable shopping bags have been introduced for commissary use and we have “declared war” on small plastic bags and food containers. A new, state of the art, septic treatment system was installed in 2008. Use of reusable water containers is encouraged and we hope to largely eliminate use of those ubiquitous small plastic water bottles in the near future.
Our new boats are all equipped with four-stroke engines, which are fuel efficient and much cleaner to operate. We are introducing environmentally friendly soaps, lotions and other products in the hotel and encouraging re-use of towels on a voluntary basis. Solar and wind power options are being studied, and we now have an experimental solar battery charger on the roof of one of our Club golf carts.
These are significant steps which have not been inexpensive. However, we are proud of the efforts we’ve made to conserve and preserve the wonderful environment that we’ve been privileged to enjoy and remain strongly determined to continuing this commitment in the future.
In addition to our emphasis on the abovementioned green initiatives, we continue to work with The TCI National Trust and the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources on important environmental issues. Currently we are engaged in a project to preserve the endangered Caicos Pine Tree for which our island was named. A pine scale infestation likely introduced on Christmas trees imported from North America almost extirpated this species throughout the Turks and Caicos. We lost a substantial number of tress here, but have some that have proven resistant to the insect. In a cooperative effort involving the Trust, the DECR and botanists from England, seeds have been harvested on Pine Cay to propagate healthy seedlings and establish an experimental nursery. This project is described in further detail in the Winter 2011/2012 issue of Times of the Islands magazine.