>Cole Bay-The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation is applauding the court decision last week in which the court found that parking on Great Bay Beach close to the Walter Plantz Square as illegal. Despite the ruling the Foundation is continuing to observe residents and tourist alike both parking and driving on beaches on the island, in particular on Simpson Bay Beach at the area popularly known as Kim Sha. “We are very happy about the ruling regarding the illegality of parking on the beach in Great Bay, and we believe it sets an excellent precedent in protecting and conserving what is our most important Natural Resource,” commented Tadzio Bervoets of the Nature Foundation.
While the Foundation applauds the ruling it is also highlighting the ongoing practice of parking and driving on beaches, in particular the part of Simpson Bay Beach popularly known as Kim Sha; “while we applaud the court ruling we would like to highlight that parking and driving on Kim Sha beach, which has been designated a tourist hot-spot, is still ongoing. We have noticed heavy equipment, cars, busses, trucks and ATVs all parking on and driving on the beaches. A car dealership also recently posted an advert of their cars parked on the beach’” continued Bervoets.
Research has shown that driving and parking on beaches makes the beach more succesptible to overwash during storms and hurricanes. Parking and driving on beaches also causes erosion, negative health effects in beach users and impacts to beach flora and fauna. “Our beaches are faced with so many issues including water quality, pollution and now this. We really need to enforce the beach policy and have it written in legislation how our beaches should be protected,” concluded Bervoets.