Thursday, April 01, 2004

St. Lca: NIMBY

All in the name of development, the spot on Bridge Street Soufriere where AF Valmont’s once stood, is now the construction site of a multi-storey building that residents fear will ruin the town’s “quaint” international image.

Concerned citizens say the Excelsior Plaza is a “monstrosity,” an “eyesore” and a “junk-box."
As St Lucia awaits the results of negotiations to declare the Pitons Management Area a World Heritage Site, the ramifications of one man’s commercial developments has taken on new dimensions. What John Joseph Charles, brother to America’s Shopping Mall owner William Charles sees as progress is seen by most everyone else as regression.

Residents say the building has “darkened” the town and they question the availability of parking space in an already congested town center. Soufriere Foundation and the Soufriere Town Council officials say no consultations were held between them and Mr Charles.

There is also concern about fire safety with regard to the close proximity of the Plaza to neighboring buildings. With no fire service access to the back of the building, residents fear there will be a repeat episode of the Valmont fire fiasco.

So outraged are a group of citizens that they have written to the prime minister, asking that he address the situation.


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