Public/private partnership results in Oyster Pond road repair as stakeholders come together

An unprecedented public/private partnership led by Ministry Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) under the leadership of Minister Hon. Maurice Lake working in conjunction with the Sint Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA), Oyster Bay Beach Resort, The Westin Dawn Beach, Princess Heights, Coral Beach Club, Busby’s and other local businesses and organizations in Oyster Pond, came together to carry out urgently needed repairs to public roads in Oyster Pond. 

On Monday the project was officially concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The repairs were carried out by Windward Roads were started on July 28 and completed within five weeks, ahead of the onset of the peak period of the 2013 hurricane season.

In total, 180 meters of badly damaged asphalt road have been ripped out and replaced by steel-reinforced concrete road built to standards set by Ministry VROMI to support the heavy traffic that transits via Oyster Pond near to the French border. At the same time, parts of the road were re-designed to ensure that the occasional flooding that occurs in that area does not threaten the personal safety and security of any of the road users.

Ricardo Perez, General Manager, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, stated that, "This project would not have been possible without the active support and involvement of Ministry VROMI and the financial support of the SMTA Dollar a Day program, which is a voluntary contribution to the wellbeing of the island by our timeshare tourists.

"The deterioration over the past several months of critical road sections in Oyster Pond had resulted not only in an eyesore for residents and visitors alike but more importantly damage to vehicles and potential safety hazards.

"With further deterioration likely in the next few months, access to and from important tourist destinations such as Dawn Beach, Princess Heights, Coral Beach Club, The Villas of Oyster Pond, as well as Oyster Bay Beach Resort, could have become dangerous or impossible. Immediate action was required."

Ricardo Perez, having secured financial support from the SMTA, appealed in June for additional financial support from local businesses, resorts, and residential neighbourhoods, who together committed an additional US$30,000 in a matter of days.

On being approached by the SMTA with an urgent request for assistance, Ministry VROMI responded immediately, forming an unprecedented public/private partnership to address the problem in conjunction with road contractor, Windward Roads.

Maurice Lake, Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure stated, "I would like to thank the President of the SMTA Marcel Javois and his team for spearheading this public/private partnership.

"This fits into my back to basics approach of working together with stakeholders in order to make a difference within our communities. At the same time this also goes back to the vision and original plans of the former Minister of VROMI Theo Heyliger.

"By combining forces, government, businesses and the people can work together for the greater public good, protecting our most important industry, tourism, and enabling a better quality of life for all.

"Under my leadership, Ministry VROMI intends to be a responsible and responsive partner in addressing the urgent needs of the people. We will work in support of all local community initiatives that are in our common shared interests and in the best interests of Country St Maarten," Minister of VROMI Hon. Maurice Lake said on Monday.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister Hon. Maurice Lake