Car wrecks in Fort Willem.
~ Says hotel development must benefit community ~
PHILIPSBURG--Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Sunday called for the removal of all car wrecks from the Fort Willem district and for any new development in the area of the former Great Bay Beach Hotel to contribute to the upgrading and further development of the neighbourhood.
“This is not a dump site, it’s a community of hard-working people,” Emmanuel said in a press statement on Sunday.
He said it appears as though the area is the new favourite dumping ground for car wrecks, with some that are actually brought into the neighbourhood and left there to rot. Many others have been left in the same spot since the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and have now become breeding grounds for illicit behaviour in that community. Residents of the area contacted Emmanuel recently and want something done about the situation post-haste.
The MP said he is aware of government’s exercise to remove car wrecks, but questioned why Fort Willem was not tackled. He also called on the owners of the abandoned cars, if they live in the neighbourhood, to have them removed. “But it has been long enough. The people in the Fort Willem community do not deserve to live like this,” Emmanuel said.
“The already-narrow roads in Fort Willem are less accessible for emergency vehicles because of the car wrecks that take up entire stretches of road. The wrecks are not in people’s yards, they are literally on the road. So, if a fire breaks out or someone needs urgent medical assistance, fire trucks and the ambulance have a hard time navigating the district because the roads are impassable,” Emmanuel said.
He added that residents are already struggling to deal with safety and security; they do not need to worry about their children walking past wrecks where people with bad intentions simply hang out and which could develop into a breeding ground for activities that will further harm the community.
“Residents cannot even park in front of their own homes and have to park some place else, then walk home,” Emmanuel said, adding that concerned residents fear that the environment is predatory for young women.
He said the Fort Willem community has been neglected for too long and when he tried to give the community something as simple as a basketball court, it was blocked by government powers connected to the redevelopment of former Great Bay Beach Hotel area.
“Today the area designated for the basketball court is basically a dump, while it could have been a place for the young people in that area to stay constructively active. Developers in this country and their protectors in government preferred to prevent the community from obtaining a positive project, and instead chose to leave the area undeveloped for years,” Emmanuel said.
“I would like to see true investment by any developer and the government into the community of Fort Willem sooner rather than later. Put in some more speed bumps, clear the entire area of car wrecks, improve lighting, beautification, just general improvement. If you are going to come into their district, build a hotel and Lord knows what other things on their beach, then instead of trying to block our people from their beach, invest in the community that you are part of and show some real corporate social responsibility. This is not you against them. Do the responsible thing and help the community.
“But let’s start with getting rid of these car wrecks.”
An entire lane of road in Fort Willem with vehicles including wrecks.