“Open communication climate can contribute towards enhancing the Aruba product by beautifying the Malmok area for locals, island visitors and the Malmok residents.” S. Romano

Just as the tragic accident was unfolding in Malmok, I was on my way to the radio station, Magic 96.5FM, two columns of bikers, one heading to the California lighthouse and one heading back to Palm Beach, intersected right at the site of the accident, in addition to the multiple UTVs whose tour was interrupted when the light-framed, side-by-side UTV overturned with almost fatal results.

Malmok is popular.

Some clients of the neglected kiosk at Arashi even consider it an extension of Palo Marga, as they zip down the brittle asphalt at the speed of lighting.

Today, Parliament is in budget discussions for a two-phase improvement plan in Malmok. In the spirit of the Green Corridor. But the plan has not been finalized yet.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22. Parliament is ratifying something that doesn’t exist, but unless they allocate a budget, the plans cannot be drawn. And if plans cannot be drawn, how would a budget be created? Unless parliament allocates funds, and so forth.

However, as residents of the area in discussion, we don’t want funds allocated to a plan that wasn’t approved, in fear it would be shoved down our throats later. Capisce? Understand?

Members of Preserva Malmok, PM, met with GOA representative yesterday, Sharlyze Romano Project Manager Tourism Product Enhancement Fund, TPEF, and some of the fund’s board members, with Francis Gomez of DOW, and architect Joel Croes. I have a paragraph at the end of this column about TPEF.

The two-pronged project includes the ‘enhancement’ of the area from Fisherman’s Huts to the intersection of Malmokweg and the restoration of the 27 light poles leading to the California lighthouse.

Preserva Malmok had no problems with the installation of lights leading up to the California lighthouse as long as they are vandal proof, and environmentally sustainable.

However, the suggestion was made to replace poles by reflectors, low-lying, durable, low-cost, efficient, respectful to the scenery, overall turtle-friendly in that area, and easy to maintain.

The following were suggestions made in regards to the ‘enhancement,’ the Green Corridor boardwalk project from Fisherman’s Huts to the Malmokweg intersection.

Preserva Malmok says yes to safety, no to development, no to tall light poles, no to retail, no to vending, no to parking lots, no to additional beaches. PM wants to see as little as possible interference with nature, yes, to biking and walking trail, no to picnics, lingering-loitering areas.

Preserva Malmok expects the project to be respectful to archeological sites and Indian burial grounds in the area, and protective of turtle nesting locations. In areas where the road must be moved east to create more space for biking, running trails, Preserva Malmok must be part of the decision-making process, and the move expected to be minimal.  

A suggestion was made to encourage Arubus to use their minivans instead of the large buses, who race down the street empty most of the time, and require the construction of a large unnecessary roundabout, at the Malmokweg intersection.

A suggestion was made to create an overall master-plan, identify goals, not just in bits and pieces, and run the complete plan by stakeholders such as Tortuga Aruba and Preserva Malmok

Preserva Malmok was asked to submit guidelines to contribute to the creation of that masterplan.

According to Preserva Malmok GOA’s timetable is not realistic and the project cannot possibly be carefully planned and executed before the end of 2018.

Overall, it was an excellent meeting, that made it clear that Preserva Malmok welcomes sport activity in the area, and rejects additional motor traffic, noise pollution and congestion.

“As we go through the funnel of project planning,” writes Sharlyze, “we will do our best to align with your concerns and input. I am sure that together through an open communication climate we can all contribute towards enhancing the Aruba product by beautifying the Malmok area for locals, island visitors and the Malmok residents.”

TPEF – “Tourism Product Enhancement Fund”

The old fashioned 4Ps for marketing include Product, Place, Price AND Promotion, and as such a fund was created to enhance our tourist product. The “Tourism Product Enhancement Fund,” can provide a little tender loving care, in the form of road signs, trash can distribution and trash collection, a million little things that remained undone, such as security cameras, street lights, lifeguards, the welfare of stray animals and the Linear Park.

The money comes from ATSA, The Aruba Time Share Association, some of their collected tax goes into this fund, it’s a percentage but it adds up. They did the swim zone in Malmok, one year, 75-meter-wide and 1,500-meter-long dedicated to swimmers to keep the charter boats out.

Basically, funds from AHATA go to the ATA bank and Funds from ATSA to TPEF, supporting “Un Aruba Dushi pa Biba ta un Aruba Dushi pa Bishita” meaning “An Aruba where it’s wonderful to live, is also an Aruba that’s wonderful to visit.”  

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August 16, 2018
Rona Coster