Inspection orders Karakter Bar to remove illegal beach structuresPOSTED: 04/28/11 11:38 AM
Pride Foundation: owner continues
St. Maarten – The inspection department at the Ministry of Vrom has given the owners of the Karakter Beach Bar in Simpson Bay five days to remove constructions from the beach. But according to the St. Maarten Pride Foundation, Karakter continues to construct an elevated platform in front of the old bus that houses the bar.
In a letter to the Pride Foundation, environmental inspector Henry Ellis wrote that his department is well aware of the beach policy. “The department appreciates and much depends on the public and environmentalists to inform us about violations,” Ellis wrote, adding that his department has enough know-how and experience to deal with the matter.
Karakter received a letter from the inspection giving it five days to remove an illegally built gazebo as well as a half-way finished wood-encased elevation in front of the bar.
But according to Ellis, the latest information he received from a representative of Karakter “is that a sea wall is built on private property measured by the cadastre.”
That would give the construction some sort of legitimacy. But Ellis put forth another argument to support the order to remove the construction from the beach. “This does not take away that this structure has no building permit and can be removed by government if a permit cannot be granted for this location.”
That remark alarmed the Pride Foundation. In a quick response to the inspection, the foundation points out that whether the sea wall is constructed on private property or nit, is irrelevant. “If there was no building permit issued it should be removed. There should be no possibility for a permit to be issued for this location if it violates the beach policy and the building ordinance.”
Pride opened its response by stating that it does not question the inspection’s awareness, knowledge or experience. “The reality of the matter is that illegal construction activities on our beaches and in other areas are becoming all too common. They are often left unaddressed if not brought forward and made public by the St. Maarten Pride Foundation or its partner foundations,” Pride stated.
The foundation wrote that it’s time “to move away from allowing these structures to be legalized after the fact for the simple reason that they have already been erected.”
Pride points to the example of the illegally constructed sea wall at the Esperanza property at the Ocean Club in Cupecoy. “Mr. Esperanza was given the opportunity to file for a building permit after his wall had already been constructed. Pride has not forgotten about this case and will be publicly pursuing a solution if one is not secured by your department.”
Yesterday, this newspaper reported that the Karakter Beach Bar is building an elevation on the beach enclosed in wooden walls and that it also has built a gazebo on the beach. The Pride Foundation received several phone calls about the situation.
Ironically, the illegal “sea wall” that is under construction on the beach, is adorned with a sign that promotes Heineken’s Bright Beaches initiative.