Deconfinement: Royal Marina, schools, Tourist Office, containers on the Waterfront, Daniel Gibbs answers questions from the media

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In the presence of the 1st vice-president, Valérie Damaseau, the president of the Community, Daniel Gibbs took part in the question-and-answer game with the journalists, during the weekly news update, produced on Thursday June 18 by Facebook Live.

1- What about the renovation project of the Royal Marina and the creation of the fishing landing point. Has the project been postponed due to the health crisis?

First of all, I would like to remind you that we have settled the situation at Marina Fort Louis, which required a considerable effort. It currently benefits from rehabilitation works for an amount of 5.5M €. These works will be completed by the end of this year.

It now remains to settle the legal situation of the Royal Marina, that is to say the body of water and the docks which belong to the Community.

In December 2019, the community proceeded to repair the decks of the quays and to replace all the public lighting. It should be noted that the buildings and their accesses belong to private condominiums, which should also be questioned about the management of their spaces.

The creation of a fishing landing dock was included in the 2020 budget. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed the deadlines, but the project is now in the hands of our engineering department, which is working on its realization and prepare the application for planning permission.

Despite the legal deadlines and the imponderables, we are not letting go of these projects, we are working on them so that before the end of this year, we can start again on solid and above all lasting foundations, for the benefit of Saint-Martin and its inhabitants.

2- The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron announced that crèches, schools and colleges will welcome from June 22 all students and this in a compulsory manner. With regard to the deadlines, how is the Collectivity organized to ensure the return of all the students to the school benches, in terms of school transport, canteen, health protocol?

Yes indeed, we held a working meeting with the national education services on Tuesday.

In view of the considerable efforts that we have made in recent weeks to allow the reopening on certain levels, of all primary schools, colleges and high schools, in strict compliance with a rigorous and binding health protocol, and with regard to the date advance of the school year, we made the common decision not to hire more class openings and to focus our efforts on the start of the new school year in September

3- The website of the Tourist Office does not seem to have been updated for some time and no information regarding Coronavirus provisions and the health crisis appears there. Similarly, the My Saint-Martin application no longer works.  Does the Community and the Tourist Office intend to make these updates and make these communication tools effective before the summer period?

As for the Tourist Office, we must explain to our listeners that the EPIC is in the midst of restructuring. President Valérie Damaseau has embarked on this major project with her teams and a new management project is being developed. This project includes of course the updating of promotional and communication tools for visitors.

The Tourist Office is currently working on the redesign of its website so that it becomes a real information and intelligence tool for visitors, with information on places to visit, the history of Saint- Martin, his heritage, or activities, entertainment offers and restaurants. The teams are at work, the new site will be ready for the next season, in November. It should be noted that the tourist office has published a special Newsletter on the Covid crisis19 intended for its partners to keep them informed of the situation locally.

The Community has several communication tools, the website and this Facebook page are part of it. It is true that under the impetus of our young elected Jean-Sébastien Hamlet, in 2018 we launched the My Saint-Martin application for Mobile phones.

It was an undeniable plus for our citizens who could find the information published on the website directly on their smartphone thanks to the My Saint-Martin application. Our teams worked hard to release this mobile application and we launched it a few months after Hurricane IRMA.

Unfortunately, the company selected at the time, which was a young startup, encountered difficulties and could not maintain this offer. We were officially informed of this at the start of the year.

The Collectivity thus found itself faced with a fait accompli and we must today relaunch a public market to put this application back in place. The consultation is scheduled for the third quarter of 2020.

4- Can you give an update on the containers on the Marigot waterfront, where are we with the traditional restaurateurs who were supposed to settle there at the end of 2019?

We signed the agreements with the occupants, holders of an AOT, last week. They will be able to settle in their new space shortly. The Collectivity is by their side so that this installation takes place in the best conditions.

When, in the aftermath of Irma, an emergency solution had to be found to rehouse the restaurant owners and shopkeepers in the Front de Mer building, we decided to install this temporary village. It is a project that was designed with architects and our engineers and that will finally be able to be carried out. We concerted the operators and acted together on this move, which will manage the wait before the final development of the seafront.

I am convinced that this space will become a very welcoming and lively place; even if it will now depend a lot on how each operator knows how to appropriate it.

We will then be able to demolish and then rebuild the Front de mer building, which, it should be remembered, does not meet health or safety standards.  Ultimately we will be able to relocate the occupants to a much more comfortable and secure place.

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