Categorized | Letters

Degradation of Beautiful Belham Valley and a Resort Hotel

July 25, 2011

Hon. Reuben T. Meade

Dear Mr. Meade,

As you are well aware, the Vue Pointe Hotel was closed by Government’s request for the third time in January 2007.  I was given notice at 4:15pm to have all of my 48 guests relocated by sunset which I did. Over the next few days my staff assisted in moving furniture and fixtures to containers in Carr’s Bay.  I had to compensate my staff and await permission to reopen.

Over the course of the following three years I asked the Governors of the time and the elected members of Government if the Vue Pointe Hotel could once again accommodate overnight guests.  I was always told not yet.

Two weeks ago, after learning of the possibility of the construction of a pier in Isles Bay for the purpose of exporting sand, I spoke to a senior member of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.  I asked if there was any possibility that the Vue Pointe could once again accommodate overnight guests.  To my surprise,  the answer was yes as the zone that the Vue Pointe is in has now been designated as “Unrestricted”. When I was told that this designation was changed in March of 2010, I could not believe that despite our past compliance with Government orders,  no one in the Government ever thought to advise us that the designation of “Unrestricted” meant that the Vue Pointe could once again function as a hotel.

I realize how important sand mining can be to Montserrat and I fully support those entrepreneurs who wish to make a substantial contribution to the GDP and thereby assist in Montserrat’s quest for sustainability.  But does this have to be at the detriment and degradation of the beautiful Belham Valley and surroundings?

When you announced on Radio Montserrat in March of this year that the facility for exporting sand was to be built in Foxes Bay, you were applauded.  It seemed to be the ideal solution for all involved. It now seems that you have changed your decision and that the plan is to build this plant and pier in Isles Bay. I hope this is not true for many reasons.  It would mean that the Vue Pointe Hotel could never open again as a resort and conference centre catering to clients who appreciate the tranquility and beauty of Old Road Bay.  It would certainly devalue all villas and property on either sides of the Belham Valley as well as those in the other covenanted areas as residents and potential buyers realize that the assurance of quiet, non-commercialized living has not been upheld by Government. It will cause anger and frustration among the expatriate community who contribute greatly to our economy and who feel that the Government is not listening to their appeal.

Sir, your Government has held countless meetings to request input on many issues which affect the lives of all of us here in Montserrat.  We objected strenuously to the positioning of an airport which had no scope for expansion or even an apron for safety.  We are now feeling the effects of the debilitating limited access to Montserrat.

Please don’t marginalize our Tourism Sector any further by building a commercial sand mining pier in Isles Bay.

Yours Faithfully,

Carol A. Osborne

Vue Pointe Hotel

cc:  H.E. the Governor

Elected Members of Parliament

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

July 25, 2011

Hon. Reuben T. Meade

Dear Mr. Meade,

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As you are well aware, the Vue Pointe Hotel was closed by Government’s request for the third time in January 2007.  I was given notice at 4:15pm to have all of my 48 guests relocated by sunset which I did. Over the next few days my staff assisted in moving furniture and fixtures to containers in Carr’s Bay.  I had to compensate my staff and await permission to reopen.

Over the course of the following three years I asked the Governors of the time and the elected members of Government if the Vue Pointe Hotel could once again accommodate overnight guests.  I was always told not yet.

Two weeks ago, after learning of the possibility of the construction of a pier in Isles Bay for the purpose of exporting sand, I spoke to a senior member of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.  I asked if there was any possibility that the Vue Pointe could once again accommodate overnight guests.  To my surprise,  the answer was yes as the zone that the Vue Pointe is in has now been designated as “Unrestricted”. When I was told that this designation was changed in March of 2010, I could not believe that despite our past compliance with Government orders,  no one in the Government ever thought to advise us that the designation of “Unrestricted” meant that the Vue Pointe could once again function as a hotel.

I realize how important sand mining can be to Montserrat and I fully support those entrepreneurs who wish to make a substantial contribution to the GDP and thereby assist in Montserrat’s quest for sustainability.  But does this have to be at the detriment and degradation of the beautiful Belham Valley and surroundings?

When you announced on Radio Montserrat in March of this year that the facility for exporting sand was to be built in Foxes Bay, you were applauded.  It seemed to be the ideal solution for all involved. It now seems that you have changed your decision and that the plan is to build this plant and pier in Isles Bay. I hope this is not true for many reasons.  It would mean that the Vue Pointe Hotel could never open again as a resort and conference centre catering to clients who appreciate the tranquility and beauty of Old Road Bay.  It would certainly devalue all villas and property on either sides of the Belham Valley as well as those in the other covenanted areas as residents and potential buyers realize that the assurance of quiet, non-commercialized living has not been upheld by Government. It will cause anger and frustration among the expatriate community who contribute greatly to our economy and who feel that the Government is not listening to their appeal.

Sir, your Government has held countless meetings to request input on many issues which affect the lives of all of us here in Montserrat.  We objected strenuously to the positioning of an airport which had no scope for expansion or even an apron for safety.  We are now feeling the effects of the debilitating limited access to Montserrat.

Please don’t marginalize our Tourism Sector any further by building a commercial sand mining pier in Isles Bay.

Yours Faithfully,

Carol A. Osborne

Vue Pointe Hotel

cc:  H.E. the Governor

Elected Members of Parliament