MP James: “Residents have grave concerns about zoning plans”

POSTED: 10/8/12 3:59 PM

St. Maarten – “What was so secretive that we needed a closed door meeting last month?” That is the question United People’s party MP Jules James will pose to Minister William Marlin (Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure – Vromi) tomorrow afternoon in a meeting of the parliament’s central committee. He will also tackle the minister about the filling-in of the Great Salt Pond.
“We the members of the UP faction have summoned the Minister of Vromi to come before parliament on Tuesday afternoon to outline details surrounding the zoning and development plans for all districts,” James states in a press release issued yesterday afternoon.
James wonders why a meeting about the same topic last month had to be held behind closed door, adding that he had object to this before and during the meeting. “Again I ask what did the president of parliament and the minister of Vromi have to hide by calling this closed door meeting.”
James said that the disclosure by the minister during the closed door meeting was “insignificant.” He notes that the minister asked for an adjournment and that the meeting has never been called again.
During the closed door meeting on September 14, the presentation was done by civil servants, consultants and advisors. “There was little input from the minister himself. I really hope that during tomorrow’s meeting the public will hear from the elected official himself and not from the civil servants, the consultants or the advisors,” James stated.
“I am looking forward to this meeting with eager anticipation for answers for the community in general but especially for Cole Bay, Cape Bay, Billy Folly and Simpson Bay residents who may be the most adversely affected by these new and proposed zoning plans.”
James stated that he had been approached by residents from the four areas with “grave concerns regarding the proposed zoning plans.”
The UP-MP added that people who own land especially on hillsides or ridges must be aware “that certain restrictions may be imposed on them that may limit their construction plans. In some cases, perhaps, they would not be able to erect any building at all.”
James called on residents in Cole Bay, Cape Bay, Billy Folly and Simpson Bay to tune in to the meeting “to hear firsthand how they stand to be affected.”
James announced that he is also looking for details about plans for Philipsburg, “notably the current filling of the Great Salt Pond, the lagoon and other natural resources.”
The MP notes that when the National Alliance was in the opposition (they were against filling in our waters and all for the preservation of heritage. I wonder what has changed? Where are those who were defenders of our natural resources and national monuments? Were they for real or were they just playing politics?”

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