Concerns about the environmental impact of the chinese touristic project

The St Maarten Nature Foundation is concerned about the environmental impact of the Belair touristic project.

On September 7th at 4pm, the St Maarten Nature Foundation has expressed its concerns about the environmental impact of the Belair project in a Facebook post

"***Nature Foundation Has Significant Concerns About Proposed Belair Development***

Upon learning about the proposed Pearl of China Development, we delivered a letter to the Council of Ministers expressing our serious concerns the development may have on the environmental integrity of in particular the Little Bay Pond and the surrounding coastline. The Foundation urges all stakeholders on St. Maarten to call for the protection and sustainable development of the Little Bay Pond as a conservation area, important wetland and an untapped resource in terms of eco-tourism and bird watching potential.

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation is an organization which is pro-sustainable development. Sint Maarten is considered a Small Island Developing State and as such development has to occur in a sustainable and well-managed manner. We were surprised, as the appointed ecosystem authority for the island, to learn that a development of such magnitude may take place very near one of our most important wetland and coastal areas

The Little Bay Pond area is internationally recognized as an IBA, or Important Bird Area. An IBA is an internationally recognized designation of an area recognizing its importance to birds as globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations. Currently there are approximately 10,000 IBAs worldwide. The IBA designation for the Little Bay Pond is AN001 and it is listed as an important migratory bird area as well as home and breeding area for local bird populations, including for the St. Maarten National Bird the Brown Pelican and numerous other wetland and terrestrial species including the Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch and Pearly Eyed Thrasher.

Additionally, the Little Bay Pond acts as a catchment basin for runoff during periods of heavy rainfall, particularly during heavy flooding events, preventing the Belair and Cay Hill area from experiencing significant residential flooding.

In the framework of sustainable development and destination diversification Little Bay Pond can act as a crucial element in strengthening the ‘green economy’ of St. Maarten. The Nature Foundation urges Government to consider the environmental impacts such a development will have on some of the last remaining wetland and mangrove areas on Sint Maarten and requests that an Environmental Impact Assessment be conducted by an independent party in order to determine what the environmental effects will be."

 Droits photo : St Maarten Nature Foundation