Ongoing construction work on the multi-million dollar Silver Sands property on Grand Anse Beach, is posing significant accessibility challenges for at least two smaller hotels in the area.
THE NEW TODAY understands that approximately one (1) month ago, the state-owned National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) received permission to dig up the public driveway leading up to the Grand Anse Beach Palace Hotel and the Seaview Apartments and Wellness Center to access underground sewer pipes to facilitate work on Silver Sands, which has left the road in a horrible condition, especially with heavy rainfall.
According to Owner of Seaview Apartments and Wellness Center, Glen Duncan, approximately 4 weeks ago NAWASA made a request to him to allow them to dig up the public driveway in order to “move the sewer pumps further along on the Silver Sands project and I told them it was fine as long as they fix it back the way that it was and they promised to do that and even better”.
“It’s now about 4 weeks (since they dug the pipes) and they left some drains in the road, which accumulate a lot of mud and water…especially when it rains”, he told this newspaper, adding that he has been unsuccessful in contacting the NAWASA engineer via telephone on the issue.
NAWASA reportedly dug holes in two separate places to access the underground concrete cylinders, which according to Duncan, were then left uncovered, posing dangers to users of the drive.
One of the holes was dug directly in front of the Grand Anse Beach Palace Hotel, which is nestled on the piece of property leading up to Duncan’s property while the other hole was dug in the middle of the road a little higher up the driveway leading up to the Grand Anse main road.
Duncan said that the two huge holes were left uncovered thus exposing the underground concrete cylinders.
“… I called (NAWASA) and I did let them know that it could cause a potential lawsuit if anything happens with any of the guests falling into there and they came and covered it back in a reasonable way”, he remarked.
“But the road is very muddy and there is actually a ditch, which accumulates plenty of mud, especially, with heavy rainfall (and) the guests have been complaining about how awful the road is and in fact one of the guests damaged her car when she was coming in”, he added.
Additionally, the small hotelier revealed that the “Grand Anse Beach Palace Hotel has gotten some negative publicity on Trip Advisor” due to the Silver Sands development, noting that “the words that the guest used is that the road is treacherous.”
“So now that the (tourist) season is beginning I expect guests coming in about 5 to 10 days’ time and I expect complaints from them, so I am trying to deal with it now,” Duncan added, noting that a NAWASA official did promise to rectify the issue but has not been forthcoming.
According to an informed source, the Egyptian business tycoon, Naguib Sawiris who is behind the Silver Sands project is in the process of constructing his “private quarters,” on the property and in close proximity to the Grand Anse Beach Palace.
There are unconfirmed reports that persons associated with the Silver Sands have been approaching the smaller hotels along the beach and other nearby establishments offering cash in exchange for the sale of their properties.
Some of the small hotel operators have reportedly accepted the offers but others have declined the cash and choose to remain with their properties.
Some of the small hoteliers suspect that the Silver Sands developers are purposefully doing things in the area to disrupt their business operations.
“When the trucks come in, it damages the pipes and sometimes we don’t have water for days,” said Duncan’s wife when contacted via telephone on Tuesday, for an update on the issue.
She said, because the problem has prolonged for so long she believed that the Silver Sands developer is “trying to put us out of business so that no one can come to our hotel, hoping that eventually we will give up and sell”.
“It doesn’t seem like they want Grenadians to own anything on the beach…because they met us living here…it seems like because the owner of Silver Sands has money they let him do what he wants,” she declared.
According to the aggrieved hotel owner, shortly after the commencement of the Silver Sands project in January 2015, the Silver Sands developers “used concrete to block the drain on the left side of the drive because they didn’t want the water from the area running onto the property”.
“The situation gets worse when rain falls given the current state of the road and water rushes into Jenny’s Palace because there is nothing to divert the water,” she remarked.
The hotel operators are calling for the situation to be remedied as soon as possible noting that they have been operating their businesses in the areas for years now and should not have to suffer in the name of a rich foreign investor.