ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- A fire significantly damaged an eight-room section of Carlisle Bay Hotel here on Oct. 5.

Two of the rooms were gutted and the remaining six suffered from smoke and water damage.

"We are planning to reconstruct that building in time to open in early December," said Steve Williams, Carlisle Bay divisions manager.

The rooms were part of the existing 44 accommodations available at the resort, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation project.

An additional 60 rooms are slated to be ready by next winter season, Williams said. A new lobby and an access road to the hotel also are planned.

The project has met with some opposition from residents who claim it could harm the environment.

The residents began protesting the expansion because they said some of the buildings were being built too close to a mangrove swamp, which could cause flooding and erosion in the area.

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