BELAIR–Belair-SFH Community Council and Hillside Foundation have submitted an objection to the Pearl of China project, a large 326-room hotel with showroom and 450- apartment venture for Belair beachfront.
The two community groups objected specifically to the Preparatory Resolution Little Bay Beach – Cay Hill, saying it was “not duly motivated nor prepared” and they “were not heard, nor are the interests of the neighbours, Hillside Foundation and the Belair/SFH Community Council taken into account.”
The Hillside Foundation and Belair-SFH Community Council have requested Government to put the Pearl of China project on hold until a real estate appraisal study is carried out on how the project could affect the value of homes in surrounding areas, studies on the traffic and environmental impact and for an alternative location to be found that “can better accommodate a project of this scope and magnitude.”
The objection letter states that residents were “extremely shocked to hear that an enormous 325-room and 450-apartment Pearl of China project, which would most likely disrupt the livelihood of the residents and destroy one of the last areas of natural tranquillity on St. Maarten, will now replace the failed Barbaron project.”
Residents are “worried and furious” that their homes and entire residential area “could be swallowed up by a gigantic china town. We therefore object to the construction of any building that will obstruct or partially obstruct the surrounding view of nature and ocean of existing homes.”
The community of Belair and Cay Hill /Little Bay attended several zoning plan town hall meetings recently, and reacted to the public review where they have contributed to the future development of our surroundings.
“This new system of inclusion was appreciated and accepted by the Belair and Cay Hill /Little Bay community. We are therefore against the granting of any exemption or exclusion from the existing zoning plan of the Cay Hill /Little Bay to accommodate this or any future project,” the letter to Spatial Development and Infrastructure Minister Angel Meyers stated.
Little Bay Pond is a habitat to several species of animals, including iguanas and rare birds migrating from North America. This area is frequented by birdwatchers and animal lovers. It is a known fact that a large development such as this can potentially cause damage to the surrounding environment. Excess noise and light pollution including traffic will disrupt the natural habitat of the birds, the groups said.
“There is currently significant water contamination caused by the effluent runoff from the gutter on Welgelegen Road. Additional water pollution from sewage overflow cannot be tolerated.
Many locals use Belair Beach for recreational purposes. Belair residents work with the community police officer to enforce reduction of the noise level generated especially on weekends as a result of beach parties.
Residents are also concerned about increased criminal activity, potential electricity and water shortage due to capacity overload, and loss of access to the Belair beach area.
The objection period ends next week. All objections will be reviewed by the minister for merit.
Source: Daily Herald
Belair Community objects to Pearl of China project