PHILIPSBURG–Coalition Members of Parliament (MPs) Sarah Wescot-Williams, Christophe Emmanuel and Rodolphe Samuel have requested a meeting of the Permanent Committee for Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI in the form of a tour of the site earmarked for the sewage plant in Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Wescot-Williams (Democratic Party) told the press in a party press conference on Tuesday that the request for the meeting, sent to Committee Chairman MP Maurice Lake (independent), stems from the MPs needs to better understand the pros and cons of the planned plant. The sewage plant will be a joint venture of the Dutch and French sides of the island with the support of European Union funds.
The William Marlin Cabinet, which the Coalition of Eight MPs support, plans to build a manmade island in Simpson Bay Lagoon to house the sewage plant.
Wescot-Williams said that she, along with the two National Alliance (NA) parliamentarians have asked from VROMI Minister Angel Meyers to conduct the boat tour and point out the selected location for the creation of the island as well as the ideas for the plant and to explain how the lagoon will be affected by this development.
She noted that all committee meetings are opened to all MPs and she hopes everyone who is interested will make an effort to be part of the tour once the meeting has been set by Lake.
Nature Foundation said last week that it “cannot give a scientifically backed positive advice” that using the western side of the Simpson Bay Lagoon Causeway is “the most suitable location for the construction of a sewage treatment plant.”
The research “clearly shows” that the proposed area is of a high biological value – both above the water in terms of mangrove density which provides important wetland habitat for birds and provides shelter during inclement weather such as hurricane and under water in terms of significant habitat for seagrasses, which are severely threatened in the Simpson Bay Lagoon, as well as species of fish and invertebrates which are relatively abundant in the area.
The Cabinet has argued that this location suits all of the European Union requirements, which calls for the plant to be at least 100 metres away from residential areas.
Meyers said in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on March 23 that the proposed site in the Lagoon was “the best solution.” He added the alternate land on the French side proposed by landowner Louis Constant Fleming for the plant was not welcomed by French side authorities. They had “little appetite for it,” he told the press.
The Nature Foundation’s Ecological Monitoring and Environmental Impact Assessments, released on March 23, were compiled response to reports about the filling in of a significant portion of Simpson Bay Lagoon for the building of the sewage treatment plant. The assessments focused on determining how diverse and rich the area is in terms of bio-diversity such as fish life, mangroves and seagrasses and how that will be impacted by the proposed filling. The 27-page study is the result of 10 days of in-depth research and has been distributed to decision-makers.
Source: The Daily Herald Coalition MPs request tour of planned sewage plant site