New road to schools in Cay Hill

POSTED: 05/11/12 12:55 PM

CAY HILL- A simple groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday afternoon paved the way for the construction of an eight million guilder road behind the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex in the Cay Hill community. It cemented one of the final tasks that the UP/DP coalition government executed for their 19 month term. The contract for the road was signed between the government of St.Maarten and contractor MNO Vervat N.V in March. Its development means that proper infrastructure will be in place for students heading to the recently constructed elementary and polytechnic schools in that area later this year.

The road is expected to be completed by mid-August with Max Schakel of MNO Vervat N.V saying that his company would try its best “to realize the project deadline and utilize the local labor and local contractors like we did in Middle Region.”

Head of the Department of New Projects Development and Planning Kurt Ruan in giving an overview of the project said that Thursday’s groundbreaking could be considered a milestone in an area full of construction projects. He added that it would not have been possible without “a lot of struggles and fight and last minute decisions. It was a great idea to house two new schools in this area but we cannot do any development without a road.”

The new road will result in 42 new parking spaces being created behind the Fire and Ambulance building. From the Welgelegen Road to behind the fire station will be designated a two way road. From the elementary and polytechnic schools the road will then become a one way with an emergency exit towards the residential section of Cay Hill. It will end on another portion of Welgelegen Road.

The board of the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex (RISC) made land available for the road and adjacent drains to be built. RISC will benefit from this arrangement with its parking lot being upgraded.

Managing advisor of Dutch funding agency USONA, Angela Dekker said that when the contract was signed in 2008 in Holland for two new schools to be built in the area, her main concern was the lack of infrastructural development.

“There was one condition; that we cannot have a school without proper roads or water or electricity. We were getting a little bit anxious last year when we saw the school construction progressing.  So for the last two years I have been asking Minister Heyliger: what about the road?”

Outgoing Minister of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs Dr. Rhoda  Arrindell said that she was glad that the ground breaking ceremony took place this week and not next week. “This development will do a lot for property value and also enhance the community,” she opined.

Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for the Ministry of VROMI Theo Heyliger used the opportunity to reflect on his years of service to the island. “From 1995 to 2012 I have always played some role in St.Maarten. It will be an interesting feeling getting up out of bed one day and realizing that you don’t have a job to go to. I am very happy that I am leaving government knowing that we have built schools, placed them in the proper environment and not have them in a centralized area.” He added that the road’s development will also see a sewerage system being hooked up to the main network.

“Usually when we had projects that were either Dutch funded or local funded there was always something missing. This time I think that we have a total project that is being completed.”

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