Celebrating collaboration, community and construction in the BVI
Volunteers from Virgin Atlantic, coordinated by Captain Chris Hall, recently arrived on Virgin Gorda to help with the rebuilding efforts – they joined BVI volunteer groups and Unite BVI to do what many thought impossible.
Gorda Peak is the highest point on Virgin Gorda and offers hikers a panoramic view of the British Virgin Islands - it stands at 1,370ft and is one of the last remaining examples of Caribbean dry forest in the region, making it a high priority for conservation internationally.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, there was a fire tower located at the summit of the trails, where tourists and residents could get a 360 view of Virgin Gorda. The tower collapsed during the hurricane – the site was then cleared by volunteers from Unite BVI, M.A.L.E. and the VI National Parks Trust team in 2020.
The project to rebuild the viewing platform was funded and coordinated by Unite BVI and brought together volunteer groups from the Valley Sound Lions Club, Virgin Atlantic Airways, the BVI Tourist Board and the National Parks Trust, as well as community volunteers.
“As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work.’ In this case, many hands made really hard work possible. It was reminiscent of the restoration efforts following Hurricane Irma when people came together to help each other and build back the community. We have a contractor who cares and people who care, and a Parks Trust who cares, and now we have an amazing viewing platform for generations to enjoy,” said Kim Takeuchi, Foundation Manager of Unite BVI. “Volunteers worked together to form a human chain, transporting all the necessary materials to rebuild the platform in two and half hours.”
When open to the public, the new viewing platform will offer panoramic views of the entire North Sound to Anegada and on a clear day… all the way to St.Croix. New signage and information displays will also be installed, helping tourists learn more about the island flora and fauna. The platform also provides coverage from sun and rain, and a photo opportunity to write home about.
Unite BVI was founded by Virgin Unite and Virgin Limited Edition in 2016 to help create new opportunities for communities across the British Virgin Islands. Since its launch, Unite BVI has brought together people, ideas and resources to help tackle local community and environmental challenges. Visit the Unite BVI website to learn more about its work and impact.