Divi Resort prevents public from parking on premises

PHILIPSBURG–Management of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort has reserved parking on its premises for its timeshare owners and hotel guests, and prohibits the general public from using its parking lots when going to the beach.



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Some complaints criticising Divi for blocking access to the public beach located at the resort were filed with this newspaper over the weekend. When contacted for clarification, Divi’s management said access to the beach at no time had been blocked, but the resort offered timeshare owners and hotel guests convenient car rental service and parking at the resort, which were considered premium amenities.
Therefore, it said, while Divi welcomed the general public to enjoy the beach, it could not allow the general public to occupy its parking spaces when going to the beach. "We believe the only fair solution to the problem is for government to develop public parking, so that everyone can have access to St. Maarten’s beaches," Divi’s management said.
Angry residents contended that the new restriction was an effective way to keep local people away from the beach. "If you can’t park there, you won’t go to the beach there, since there is no parking outside of the premises," one resident said. "This is just a way to keep us out."
Divi’s management said donating parking for public use had raised several concerns. "First, there is a security concern regarding allowing unrestricted traffic on our property. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the parking areas and resort grounds are private property.
"This includes the Fort Amsterdam property, where access is restricted because of safety concerns. Without proper signs and safety barriers, serious injury is a very real possibility. Given our peninsula location and geographic limitations, parking space is limited. As a result, we feel we must reserve these parking spaces for our owners and guests, rather than make them available to the general public."
Residents also said many people took their children to Divi, as this was one of the few safe beaches left on the Dutch side where children could learn to swim.
"Elderly people also frequent this beach on Saturday mornings for exercise, and there is even a physical therapist who takes patients there regularly – again, because the water is shallow there. So now we’re supposed to wheel the elderly in from Link One?
"Our government replenishes Divi’s beach all the time and that is about to happen again with the season coming up. Our tax dollars are good enough to replenish a beach, but not good enough for us to park and use that same beach," they said in their complaint.

Source : The Daily Herald