RESIDENTS of Trouya Pointe are raising objection to a proposal to change the land use of properties in their community from single family residential to multi-family villas and a hotel with spa and restaurant.
The Development Control Authority (DCA) has published a notice to the effect that there is an application before it to change the land use in the area. The public has a deadline of December 12 to respond.
The community has mobilized to oppose the proposal on the grounds that the project “will endanger our community and severely restrict public access”.
Lincoln Weekes, a twenty year resident, coordinating the response said that the Trouya Pointe was designed as a low density, single family residential community. To ensure that its character remained intact, there are covenants attached to the respective deed documents specifying restrictions to high density developments and prohibition of all trade and business on any part of any lot.
“The effect of these covenants are to ensure that buyers know exactly the nature of the community they are buying into”, Weekes said.
This proposal is a clear case of money versus community interest. Since members of the community have offered to buy the land at full commercial value to then keep in trust undeveloped. The current land owner (a neighbour) has refused and instead has applied for this overdevelopment permit, Mr. Weekes continues.
This proposal by JLDP a Martiniquan firm founded in 2008 with Euros 3,000 of paid in capital, according to the French Corporate register, will almost triple the number of family units per lot. This contravenes the “density stipulation” in the covenants.
According to Weekes, JLDP’s business model, as advertised in a letter to the community, will be to lease back any sold villa into the hotel room pool and allow villas full access to the restaurant and spa. This arrangement makes these villas nothing more than detached hotel rooms, 66 of them in all. This contravenes the no trade or business clause of the covenants.
Mr. Weekes explains: “The developer, in a letter to the community, has also indicated, a well used deeded public access to the beach will be much reduced, thus restricting public access to one of the few beaches left in the north of the Island that is enjoyed by local St. Lucians from near and far. This is very much contrary to public interest especially since this over-development will be built on mostly Queen’s chain”.
In effect, according to the residents, a 66 room hotel will go up in their community. They will then have to suffer the physical construction of the project and its accompanying side effects: many years of noise, dust, debris, mud, damaged road and the constant movement of workers and materials.
“In short, our community will be overwhelmed”, Weekes said. “As a community we would like not to be subjected to this nuisance, since we have legally protected ourselves from such an outcome with the binding covenants in our land deeds.”
There are other issues worrying the residents as well. They fear that given the kind of relationship that the hotel industry has with locals near their properties, the public will incrementally be discouraged from the use of Trouya bay which is a snorkeling and recreation destination for St Lucians as well as a resource for fishermen from nearby Gros Islet.
Mr. Weekes said he met with MP. Emma Hippolyte, the district representative, and she assured him that she had no knowledge of the proposal beyond what has been reported in the media and vows to support the residents in their effort to stop this proposal.
The residents noted that over the years, the DCA has set a precedent by rejecting proposals for commercial development at Trouya Pointe. As a result, the area has remained free of such establishments in accordance with the wishes of the community,
Said Weekes: “We believe that the DCA’s previous decisions have been in keeping with the spirit of the community and the legal rights of the residents. We are calling on the DCA to maintain that resolve, stick to the precedent it has set and reject the application from the developer”.
Weekes said the residents strongly believed that the project would endanger the community. “We object to its approval in the strongest terms without reservation”, he said.