The Save the Camerhogne Park Committee, led by Jude Bernard intends to make the future of the recreational facility a major issue in the upcoming general election.
The committee has finalised a resolution which it intends to send to the political parties on the island to solicit their support to keep the park for the public use of Grenadians.
The move is being made against the backdrop of fears that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell might hand the park over to a foreign project developer to build a hotel in the area.
Camerhogne Park, which represents the last remaining green belt access to Grand Anse Beach was constructed 25 years, with funding from USAID and assistance from the OAS for the purpose of providing residents with beach frontage access, parking, picnic and leisure facilities as well as shower, change and toilet facilities, while at the same time protecting the Grand Anse beach from over-development and the negative effects of climate change.
According to Bernard, Camerhogne Park is known to be “a public facility that was deliberately established to address user conflicts between hotels, their guests and the general public using the beach and also to address the sentiments by locals that they were being alienated from use and equal enjoyment of Grand Anse Beach”.
Bernard also referred to the results of a national survey conducted in July/August 2016 that showed that 86% of all Grenadians want Camerhogne Park to be preserved for its current use and not sold or given up for any hotel development.
The committee believes that the threat to the park is a real and imminent one because, as recent as last June, the Senate rejected a Resolution meant to offer parliamentary protection of the park by (then) Labour Senator, Ray Roberts.
The resolution was water-downed and replaced by one which indicated that government was committed to “creating an enabling environment for the Riviera Hotel developer to make good on his proposal to develop the Riviera project”, which, as was outlined by Prime Minister Mitchell during his 2016 Budget presentation, included the use of Camerhogne Park.
Bernard also reiterated a point made in December when he indicated that the long term vision of his committee is not just to protect the park but to seek assistance to refurbish it as its facilities have undergone serious deterioration due to use over the years.
However, he said that it will be futile to make any plans for refurbishing or enhancing the facility if its future is under threat.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the Camerhogne Park resolution as prepared by the committee which it is hoping will be signed by all political parties:
PROTECTION OF CAMERHOGNE PARK IN PERPETUITY
To Be Agreed By Political Parties and Independent Candidates Offering Themselves for Office in Upcoming Elections
WHEREAS in his 2016 Budget Statement, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced that the Rivera Hotel was being designed and that “during this design phase, the investors have agreed to construct a new Camerhogne Park nearby”;
AND WHEREAS the Senate, in April 2017, rejected a motion to protect Camerhogne Park for the enjoyment of Grenadians, in perpetuity, and instead, resolved to “creating an enabling environment for the Riviera hotel developer to make good on his proposal to develop the Riviera project”, which, as was outlined by the Prime Minister, during his 2016 Budget presentation, included the area now occupied by Camerhogne Park.
AND WHEREAS climate change is a significant threat to a small island developing state such as Grenada;
AND WHEREAS Grenada has ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
AND WHEREAS a key mitigation measure to address the negative impact of sea level rise is minimising construction on coastal areas;
AND WHEREAS the Tourism Master Plan of 1997 noted that Grand Anse beach had reached its carrying capacity and explicitly discouraged the building of any more hotels on the beach front;
AND WHEREAS Grand Anse Beach is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise as a result of climate change impacts,
AND WHEREAS these increased risks will place additional challenges on Grenada’s limited capacity, its disaster management and response capacity.
AND WHEREAS Camerhogne Park is a public facility that was deliberately established to address user conflicts between hotels, their guests and the general public using the beach and also to address the sentiments by locals that they were being alienated from use and equal enjoyment of Grand Anse Beach;
AND WHEREAS 10 acres were initially recommended for the park but only 2.5 acres were eventually allocated in order to accommodate the construction of the Coyaba and Allamanda hotels;
AND WHEREAS the Camerhogne Park was constructed with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
AND WHEREAS Camerhogne Park provides the public with beach frontage access, parking, picnic, shower and change and toilet facilities.
AND WHEREAS Camerhogne Park, since its establishment over 25 years ago, has become an important recreational area and a hub of varied social activities (including school children on educational tours, religious and civic groups and families) and an area that is used by both locals and visitors;
AND WHEREAS Camerhogne Park is the lone remaining public green space with beach frontage on the Grand Anse Beach;
AND WHEREAS the importance of public green spaces has been recognized and promoted for their positive effect on the spiritual , mental and physical well-being of people;
AND WHEREAS at the Camerhogne Park location, the public does not have to compete with any commercial users of the area;
AND WHEREAS a proposal has been made by the developer of the Riveria to relocate Camerhogne Park to a smaller area of 1.5 acres;
AND WHEREAS the site for the proposed relocation does not offer beach frontage since on site, there is already established a restaurant and bar which is occupying the beach frontage;
AND WHEREAS Camerhogne Park and Grand Anse Beach are national assets and form an important part of the patrimony of Grenada;
AND WHEREAS the citizens of Grenada have a right to the enjoyment of the assets and patrimony of Grenada;
AND WHEREAS the citizens of Grenada are collectively the owners of these assets and patrimony;
AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Grenada protects the rights of its citizens to own property;
AND WHEREAS the law of Grenada provides for the acquisition of private property for public purpose and not vice-versa – for the acquisition of public property for private gain;
AND WHEREAS the proposal by the developers will significantly reduce the park area and will deny the citizens of Grenada equal access, through dedicated beach frontage, to their world famous Grand Anse Beach;
AND WHEREAS eighty-six percent (86%) of all Grenadians surveyed in a national poll conducted in July 2016 indicated disagreement with the plan to use Camerhogne Park for any hotel development;
AND WHEREAS the Government of Grenada has a solemn responsibility to protect the national assets and nation patrimony for the use and enjoyment of its citizens now and in the future;
BE IT RESOLVED that all political parties and independent candidates contesting the upcoming (2018) general elections in Grenada sign this resolution as an irrevocable commitment to protect and preserve, in perpetuity, Camerhogne Park, at its current location as public green space for the use and enjoyment of the people of Grenada.