Published On: Wed, Aug 7th, 2013

Minister Lake has fruitful meeting with SMTA on infrastructural issues and tourism experience enhancement measures

MinVROMI Meets with Timeshare AssociationPHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake met with the Board of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA), to discuss areas where his Ministry and the SMTA can work together for the benefit of the Island.

SMTA Chairman, Marcel Javois presented the Minister with the need for correcting the drainage of the Billy Folly Road leading to Pelican key and the repairs to the damaged road surface.

Approximately 50% of St. Maarten’s timeshare tourists use this road to access one of the five major resorts in the area.

Minister Lake was well prepared to tackle the subject and had ready for discussion the road design plans to solve this problem and also had the engineer, Rogier Brans of Lievense Consulting Engineers, on hand to discuss the technical aspects.

Minister Lake said, “In my back to basics approach we have to look for solutions where none exist. If we had the funds, I have plans already drawn up that could solve almost every infrastructural issue. Can I and the Country of St. Maarten ask the SMTA to provide financial support the way businesses and residents contributed in the Cupecoy area? There are many parts of the island where people cannot afford to contribute, but to make scarce financial resources go farther, I think it only fair to ask those who can to help out.”

The SMTA committed to Minister Lake that it could fund a part of the project from the timeshare tourists’ $-a-day contributions and would be willing to act as the private sector organization to raise additional funds as it has recently done to fix a section of the road in the Oyster Pond area by the border.

Minister Lake will, as the project leader, work on the feasibility issues and determine the amount of private sector contribution needed for what could be a three million guilder project. “Public and Private are the two ingredients for “win-win”. With cooperation we can achieve great things.” Minister Lake summed up as he insisted on a follow up meeting in two weeks on the site.

The SMTA submitted its concept for sixty-five tourism directional signs, using the highest quality reflective aluminium and built to Florida’s strict hurricane standards. The SMTA offered to pay for the signage from the $-a-day and requested Minister Lake’s support on logistics for permits and assistance on the installation from Public Works.

Minister Lake likes the concept of yet another public/private project and recognizes the need to improve the visitor experience. Minister Lake requested that the SMTA meets with Minister of Tourism, Ted Richardson for his support. Minister Lake said the project would have his support to go through the necessary processes to have a professional outcome.

Minister Lake and the SMTA board rounded off the meeting with a good spirited discussion of the need to ensure clean and safe beaches for both the tourists and the locals alike. All present agreed that the meeting was just a prelude to concrete actions to make St. Maarten a better place.

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