PHILIPSBURG – The government is looking at the best possible solutions for the construction of a sewage plant for St. Maarten, said Minister of VROMI Angel Meyers.
The total project costs €6 million and €3 million is being funded by the European Union (EU). Minister Meyers at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing, echoed the sentiments of Prime Minister William Marlin. Marlin said last week that government, by building the sewage plant in the vicinity of the Simpson Bay Lagoon, is seeking, in the best interest of St. Maarten, a solution to the sewage disposal problems.
Meyers, like the Prime Minister stated last week, noted that the sewage issue affecting the island is a major problem, and those who have expressed concerns about the sewage plant being built in the lagoon have not suggested an alternative. “Those who are saying that it is an irresponsible move from government, if they have an alternative solution, I’m all open ears,” Meyers said.
Additionally, he noted that the options for construction of the sewage plant are limited due to stipulations for the funding from the EU. “One of the conditions are with the sewage plant, a radius around the sewage plant of 100 meters, no residential buildings are allowed. And if you see the proposed location from the previous government, the land that Port de Plaisance was providing, is a residential area so automatically we would have been disqualified for the funds,” Minister Meyers said.
“The technical experts indicated that the best location technically is behind the Tropicana Casino. That would also fall outside the requirement (of) not having residential buildings within 100m radius of the sewage plant,” he added.
He also noted that the option to build on the French side was also challenging despite a land donation from French St. Martin businessman Louis Constant Fleming to have the sewage plant built there. “That land was located on the French side. Again one of the qualifications for the 3 million is it has to be on the Dutch side and politically, there was little appetite from our French counterparts for having it on the location that Louis Constant Fleming proposed,” Meyers noted.
The Minister assured that the measures being pursued to build this new sewage plant are all in the interest of St. Maarten. “I’m looking for the best possible solution to tackle this issue,” he said.