Changing the land use plan for tourist projects on Pinel Island

The elected officials are going to debate this morning on a simplified amendment of the land use plan.

For several weeks, there's been words about a project for the construction of a hotel resort on Pinel Island. In early September, we interviewed Wendel Cocks about this and he said he didn't know anything about it. However, the project indeed exists. A company in which one of the shareholders is from Saint-Martin plans to build a five-star ecolodge.

In order for it to do so, the land use plan (POS) must be amended in order to allow the development of tourism on certain plots of the island. Therefore, the elected members of the Territorial Council have been asked to debate today on a simplified procedure of the land use plan.

If they agree to modify the land use plan, the project can be continued (without any guarantee that it will be able to be completed, a building permit is nonetheless necessary).

Pinel Island is “one of the main tourist attractions  in Saint‐Martin, Pinel Island is a tropical paradise, but often crowded, which turns back into a deserted island at 4:30 pm every day, after the departure of the last shuttle", wrote the Natural Reserve on its website, which ensures the island’s protection. Activities are highly regulated. Just for the record, the restaurants were ordered to comply with the law a few years ago.

If they wanted to obtain a temporary occupation permit (AOT) in order to be able to conduct business on Pinel beach, they had to make some improvements. Of the three restaurants which existed at the time, the Karibuni and the Yellow Beach had fulfilled these conditions as well as the effluent treatment standards. They had also had to abandon certain equipment (feet-in-the-water bar) and reduce the number of sun loungers on the beach. But in exchange, they were granted temporary occupation permits. Only The Key was opposed. The case was then brought before the Administrative Court which ordered the establishment’s demolition in April 2012. A decision which was upheld on appeal in November of the same year and applied in July 2013.

Estelle Gasnet