MARIGOT–The Collectivité has offered the aggrieved local tenants of the new Orient Beach restaurants two months free rent on signing the temporary authorisation permit AOT as well as assurance that a payment arrangement will be considered if they have difficulties.
But the rent remains as it is, however, at 2,200 euros per month, already reduced from 2,500 euros. The two months free rent is offered to compensate for the project being delivered two months late.
The latest development was revealed in an announcement from the Collectivité following the third meeting in the Préfecture on Thursday with representatives of Districts one and two and members of the collective Saint-Martin Wake-Up in the ongoing effort to resolve a range of grievances brought up by the latter.
Representing the Collectivité in the negotiations were President Aline Hanson, Vice-President Wendel Cocks assisted by Cabinet Director Pierre Brangé and planning Director, Ronald Gunot.
The long-running dispute with the Collectivité has seen the three local tenants contesting the high rent, amid claiming the 3.8-million-euro project was unfinished while also insisting the restaurants were not built to French code. A deadlock in negotiations resulted in a two-day blockade of roads on March 9 and 10.
While some of the grievances were resolved by the Collectivité at the last meeting on March 15, the question of reducing the rent still further remained a sticking point.
District one representative Steven Patrick described Thursday’s meeting as “successful” and saw no reason why the tenants would not accept the latest compromise. He added “good inroads were made on other grievances.”
However, when contacted for his reaction, Maurice Jermin, the more vocal of the three local tenants, sounded only cautiously optimistic. “We haven’t been offered anything new really,” he said.
Asked if he agreed a reasonable compromise had been offered by the Collectivité which would now permit the tenants to open up, he replied: “I cannot say until I read the contract. And we cannot open until the decks are covered. It doesn’t make sense to open if the job is not completed properly.”
Listing the points that were under discussion, the Collectivité indicated the situation with the water sports operator whose space has been reduced is under consideration and would be solved quickly.
President Hanson announced that work on the access road and cleaning of the beach had been done this week. The Collectivité is currently studying the possibility of covering the restaurant decks and a decision will be taken within a week.
Concerning safety measures for gas in the kitchens, the Collectivité has produced a document certifying the conformity of the installations. However, in order to remove further doubt, it was agreed that the Préfecture would give additional proof regarding conformity on interruption of gas supply to individual installations.
The rents are maintained at 2,200 euros per month for restaurants, 1,400 euros per month for large shops, 1,000 euros per month for small shops, 600 euros per month for the water sports, 100 euros per month for mini units.
The question on the work of the 50 Pas Géometrique Commission was also discussed. On this point, the State conducted a legal analysis which will be transmitted to the Collectivité and representatives of the District Councils. The Collectivité indicated that a decision amending the functions of the ad hoc committee regulating occupants of the 50 Pas Géometriques will be deliberated on during the Territorial Council meeting of March 31, 2016.
On the subject of beach security and safety, the Collectivité confirmed the setting up of an aid station on Le Galion Beach. This aid station will be operational over the Easter weekend.
Among the other questions raised by the Collectivité, namely the burying of electrical and telephone lines, creation of a centre of activities for young people, youth employment, and the issue of the shops inside the airport area in Grand Case, these will be reviewed by the Collectivité.
The Collectivité announced that it would soon meet the representatives of the six District Councils informing them of the investment programming in the 2016 budget following complaints made by the Councils in 2015. The Préfecture has, for its part, announced a continuation of the fight against fraud and illegal employment to strengthen the territory.
Another working meeting will be set soon, this time with a pre-established agenda.
Source: The Daily Herald Collectivité offers compromise with Orient Beach tenants over the rent