PPP, finally!

Public & Private Projects are collaborative, and we were informed yesterday that a new PPP-era is dawning with the agreements signed between GOA and individual resort companies in the private sector, agreements governing the maintenance of public spaces.

Congratulations, it is truly a win-win.

GOA will undertake the beautification of Eagle Beach first, from the roundabout of Alhambra to the one at Amsterdam Manor, improving walkways, landscaping, signage and trash management.

The area will be divided into sections and one by one, they will be manicured and glossed over, then handed to a corresponding resort for long-term maintenance.

My regular readers know that maintenance is GOA’s chronic Achilles heel and the fact that things will now be handled by the resorts, who benefit from the improvements, makes a lot of sense.

The funds for the beautification and improvements originate at TPEF, a tourist product enhancement fund, set up to receive the room tax revenue from Aruba’s timeshare resorts. The investment will total Awg 1.7 million, and will hopefully help Eagle Beach maintain its stellar ranking among the world’s best beaches. Some of the funds also derive from the Aruba Tourism Authority budget.

That money collected from ATSA members has been used to make improvements, and while things were fixed and polished in the past, they were left to die. The new policy dictates handing them over at completion, to capable partners in the private sector.

Palm Beach is next. Aren’t you pleased? The most important tourist artery will receive a total makeover. This is a much bigger project since it also involves Bubali Plas and the management of its overflowing grey water. This will cost a bundle and since GOA announced the plant will be privatized in the first quarter of 2023, I am slightly optimistic about it.

There are many projects in the pipeline. Apparently, ATA is now at the helm of many upgrades to our tourist product.  I imagine the decision to undertake projects concerning our beaches, our people’s attitude towards tourism, and safety, has been made in view of the VACUUM. Since no one was taking care of the island’s most important selling-points, ATA decided to take them under its wings.

They are now involved in the Aruba Certification Program, teaching/informing locals about the multiple social and economic aspects of tourism, they initiated a multiple Oranjestad beautification programs, street arts, signage and directories, monument signs, hike & bike trails, new palapas and gazebos at Arashi beach, anti-traffic boulder protection of the Sasaraichi Dunes — the ones below the lighthouse.

The Seroe Colorado masterplan, is an ongoing saga, that would hopefully relocate the obnoxious BIG MAMA, a big eye sore over the years, since they have been claiming large portions of beach, and it is very doubtful they possess any permit at all, just squatting on premier areas, which could be used to expand the beach.  Personally, I would love to see that establishment’s permit, since I do not believe it has one – chutzpa is all they have, plus nuisance beach vendors. The turtle wall will also be moved to extend the beach. Last but not least the diving platform across the RIU will be given a new look, the wood redone, the tower painted.

I heard talk about a new Visibility Team, to patrol the tourist areas, courtesy of the revived Hospitality and Security Foundation.

Mooring management is also on the list, though most watersports companies, cut the buoys which cost a fortune, so that they could anchor their boats closer to the barranca/wall, in Malmok. ATA intends to repair and replace buoys, marking the swim zone, and install a vessel mooring helix system.

I have a favor to ask: I would be grateful if you send all beach vendors to kindergarten for a refresher course of picking random trash up and placing it in the bin. That would be helpful, an intense trash pickup course, with rehearsals, for all lazy bums, sitting in bottle caps and food containers up to the necks and refusing to lift a finger.

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January 20, 2023
Rona Coster