Inspection halts construction of Tango’s Beach bar in Simpson Bay

POSTED: 06/21/11 1:22 PM

St. Maarten – An illegal construction on the Simpson Bay Beach in the White Sands area behind the airport has been halted by the Vromi inspection department, Henry Ellis wrote in an email to the St. Maarten Pride Foundation.

“All legal measures are taken to prevent any further illegal construction on this location,” Ellis wrote, indicating that the construction was already halted before Pride brought the matter to the public eye.

Pride Vice president Rueben Thompson however, noted yesterday morning that there had been construction activities up to last week and that the order to stop must have been issued over the weekend.

The disputed construction consists of a bar and a covered deck. Architect Roberto Carchidi told this newspaper yesterday that his son Andy had made the design for the French owner, whom he only knew by his first name David.  Carchidi said that he had nothing to do with the construction as a developer and that the half-constructed deck, that stands no more than five meters from the high-water line, could be removed without any problem.

“The bar is on private property that belongs to a Mrs. Jessica,” Carchidi said, adding that his son’s plan was to design a nice looking bar on the location next to the White Sands hotel. It was going to be called Tango’s Beach Bar. For the time being however, there is just a wooden skeleton.

“They are awaiting a building permit,” Carchidi said. “They want to do everything within the rules. They would like to make something there like Orient Bay where there are plenty of bars on the beach.”

The Pride Foundation is not amused about this latest infringement on the island’s beach policy. That policy ordains that construction within fifty meters of the high-water line is prohibited. The half-finished deck stands practically on the high-water line, and the half-finished main building stands, by our own approximate measurement, no further than thirty meters from the same high-water line.

The Pride Foundation invited the media yesterday morning to have a look at the location. President Jadira Veen said that the inspection department had given the Karakter Bar, a bit further down the same beach, the order to remove illegal constructions from the beach.

“But we are two months further and nothing is done, she said.

“We are calling on the government to find out what is happening with the inspection department, and we want to know what they will do about this new structure.”

Thompson added that illegal beach construction is going on “all over” and that something needs to be done. He also referred to Mullet Bay and rumors about the area’s re-development.

“This here is a bad precedent,” he said, pointing to the half-finished deck.

“We want to make sure that this stops. We ask the minister to come out here and do something about it. This looks like a small example but it is a big infringement.”

Violating the beach policy is nothing new at the White Sands location. Right next to the half-finished beach bar are condos that are also built within fifty-meters of the high water line; the house right next to this is practically built on top of it. This house also blocks free passage to the rest of the Simpson Bay beach.

“Before all this construction, this was one long beach,” Veen said.

The Pride Foundation will next approach Governor Holiday with a request to bring the matter to Minister Heyliger’s attention, and to ask him what is going on with the beach policy.”

Pride secretary Barbara Cannegieter encouraged people “to keep notifying the Pride Foundation about illegal construction activities.

“We cannot be everywhere, but by bringing this to the public eye we want to force the government to change.”

Thompson wondered why it takes so long for the illegal construction on the beach near the Karakter bar takes so long to be taken down.

“Have it removed. Knock it down,” he said.

Asked if the Pride Foundation was tempted to put together a team of volunteers to do this work for the government, Thompson said, “We’ve had phone calls from people who said: let’s build a camp fire. But we do not want to take the law into our own hands, though of course we cannot speak for other people.”

By the end of the day the developer for the project had demolished on the beach, but left the one further back untouched. There are also indications that “something movable” will be allowed on the beach and that raises just as much concern among the Pride Foundation as the possibility of an immovable structure.


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