SIMPSON BAY VILLAGE, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is pleased with the discussions that took place Wednesday night between the Simpson Bay Community Council and SXM Airport.
Minister Lake initiated the meeting in order for both parties to have a better understanding of each other. Yvette Halley represented the Simpson Bay Community Council (SBCC) while Regina Labega, was the head of her delegation.
“In my back to basics approach it is very important that all parties understand each other in order to be able to move forward. With respect to the plans for our national airport and the interests of the people from the Simpson Bay Village and surrounding environs, some clarity had to be brought on matters of concern to the latter party, and the meeting basically brought a lot of clarity.
“An agreement has been reached where SXM Airport will meet with the SBCC on a quarterly basis. I applaud the airport’s management on its transparency and openness and willingness to also help the community as part of its social corporate responsibility,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday.
The SBCC questioned a number of things such as the amount of filling that would take place in the Simpson Bay Lagoon; congestion within the lagoon; the lagoons beauty and nature; further mega yacht developments in the Lagoon; noise pollution concern and new jet engines that will be more silent, were some of the issues discussed.
During the meeting a number of projects, primarily those that would be implemented in the next three to five years in accordance with SXM’s short term strategic plan were highlighted.
Regina LaBega, Managing Director of SXM Airport, was accompanied by her team and was pleased with the outcome of the meeting. “SXM was able to give clarity on a number of developments pertaining to the most immediate plans of the airport as well as listen to some of the concerns of the Simpson Bay community,” LaBega said.
Key projects discussed included the relocation of the fuel farm, construction of a new FBO facility, construction of a bypass, upgrades to SXM’s Rescue and Fire Fighting facility as well as SXM’s construction of a substation for the government fire department which will serve the Simpson Bay and surrounding areas and will be equipped to also house the country’s ambulance.
In addition to the ongoing developments at the airport, SXM also discussed ways that it can be of assistance to the Simpson Bay community in keeping with its corporate social responsibility. Upgrades to the community’s current youth center and lighting for the basketball court were among some of the projects discussed. The main highlight of the meeting was SXM reinforcing its commitment to engaging SBCC by announcing it will begin quarterly meetings with the Simpson Bay Community Council to keep members abreast of the various developments, projects and plans being executed as part of SXM’s Capital Improvement Program.
This announcement was very well received by SBCC and the members look forward to further discussions with SXM. “We value the input of the Simpson Bay Community and remain committed to including them and keeping them abreast of our plans,” LaBega concluded.
PHOTO CUTLINE: SBCC Yvette Halley (5th from left), Hon. Minister of VROMI Maurice Lake (4th from left), SXM Airport Managing Director Regina Labega (3rd from left) along with other members of the SBCC and airport management staff.