New beach-cleaning machine unveiled at Coral Beach Club | THE DAILY HERALD

OYSTER POND–A presentation was made Friday at Coral Beach Club, Oyster Pond, on the new beach-cleaning machine which has become available to keep St. Maarten’s beaches in pristine condition. The announcement was made by the board of the new Beach Cleaning Foundation, St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and Rotary Club of St. Maarten as main drivers of the purchase.

  The machine is a German-made Cherrington 5500 purchased at a cost of some US $150,000. It was unveiled in front of guests before it was taken up and down the beach for a demonstration. According to the manufacturer’s description, the self-propelled beach-cleaner with its three-wheel design has a zero-degree turn radius for high manoeuvrability. The lift-and-screen beach-cleaning system thoroughly screens the beach of all debris, using a transport system unit which moves the sand over a vibrating screen.

  Many of the guests attending were representatives of the main financial contributors to the project: Rotary Club St. Maarten, Rotary St. Maarten Mid Isle, Port St. Maarten and owners at Oyster Bay Beach Resort and Coral Beach Club.

  Also present to lend their support to the project were Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever and Minister of Education Rodolphe Samuel.

  The initiative of acquiring a purpose-built beach-cleaning machine was taken by SHTA in 2018 to enhance and maintain the tourism product by cleaning St. Maarten’s main economic asset, its gorgeous beaches.

  In its quest to find support throughout society to realise the project, SHTA found strong partners in Rotary Club of St. Maarten and Rotary Club St. Maarten-Mid Isle and it evolved into a joint project among the clubs.

  Consulting the Nature Foundation, insights were provided for environmentally responsible use of the device; for example, in relation to turtle nesting season and specifics as to how the device would need to be used to best protect natural habitats.

  On the initiative of District 7020, Rotarians in the United States created a disaster fund to support Caribbean projects for recovery after past storms. Rotarians all over the world contributed to this fund. Rotary St. Maarten was able to secure help from this fund for the project. In conjunction with Heineken Regatta Foundation, St. Maarten Yacht Club and Rotary Mid Isle it organised two major fundraisers during the Heineken Regattas of 2018 and 2019.

  Sharing the goal of preserving St. Maarten beaches, the project has been generously supported by Port St. Maarten from early on. One of the foreign organisations that contributed to the collection of the needed approximately $150,000 was ANWB (the Netherlands). Producer Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG (Germany) provided a generous discount for the cause of St. Maarten’s recovery.

  To maintain the device and secure regular upkeep for years to come, a special Beach Cleaner Foundation has been founded. The first board of the newly established foundation will consist of members John Caputo (Rotary/SHTA), Marc Groeneveld (AON Insurances) and Ricardo Perez (Oyster Bay Beach Resort General Manager, Apartment Owners Association of Coral Beach Club and SHTA Executive Board member).

  The not-for-profit foundation, in collaboration with Windward Roads, will make the beach-cleaning machine available to any entity in St. Maarten at a nominal operational cost on a request basis. Apartment Owners of Coral Beach Club will provide space for daily storage and upkeep at their facility.

  Personnel involved with the beach-cleaner have been in ongoing training by producer Kässbohrer for the past two weeks. In addition, part of the training given to the operators by the Nature Foundation will include pre-operation inspections of the beaches, searching for potential seasonal turtle nests and knowing how to avoid them, protect them and communicate it to the Nature Foundation in the event any are identified.

  Outcomes of a recent survey executed by SHTA amongst 10,000 tourists that previously visited St. Maarten reconfirmed the importance of the beaches as one of the main attractions for their visit.

  The association is very proud to have spearheaded this initiative to maintain and protect St. Maarten’s natural resources. It thanks Rotary St. Maarten and Rotary Mid Isle, Port St. Maarten, St. Maarten Yacht Club, the Heineken Regatta, ANWB, Kässbohrer and its regional representative Maison de Guadeloupe et des Îles, and the many individual volunteers contributing to the project.

  For more information about the beach-cleaner, contact SHTA at 1-(721)-542-0108.


Source: The Daily Herald