Editorial: Better left alone

Wednesday’s front page photo reminded some of the song Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell with its refrain “Don’t it always seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”

After all, Kim Sha is one of the few easy-to-reach beaches left in St. Maarten and hard-surfacing the area directly behind it could well have a negative impact on the natural shifting of sand as a result of storms, etc. Moreover, the parcel already was being used to park during big events there, so the question arises whether laying asphalt is really necessary.

One can hardly deny that there is a lack of parking at certain spots along what is often referred to as the “Simpson Bay Strip,” but many motorists in practice probably will still try to park close to the place they are visiting, rather than in a central location. Therefore, chances are that the new lot won’t be full most of the time.

As known, the former Marcel Gumbs Cabinet wanted to grant that piece of land to the Port de Plaisance group which already has an adjacent parcel, in exchange for a spot close to the causeway where the joint sewage plant with the French side could be built. However, the current NA-led Government disagreed and opted for reclaiming an island from the lagoon to house the plant, while the area at Kim Sha would be used for a parking lot as intended.

It makes little sense to go into all the pros and cons of each scenario again at this point, but the resort owners plan a commercial development there and wanted the additional space for better access. They reportedly also promised a guarded parking facility that would be available to the general public, although how exactly this would have materialised remained to be seen.

In any case the infrastructure work at Kim Sha has started already and there’s obviously no turning back now. Nevertheless, the issue is important to help determine an adequate vision regarding that part of the island frequented by tourists.

For example, there has been recent talk of constructing proper sidewalks, a promenade and the like, but in many instances the way especially businesses are set up there simply doesn’t allow room for such. Moreover, while a bit chaotic the area is also seen as quaint and lively, an image that too much concrete could change drastically with all possible consequences.

In short, some things are better left alone.
Source: Daily Herald
Better left alone