As of this week, Sint Maarten has a new specialized beach cleaning machine available to assist in maintaining its pristine beaches. This was announced today by the Board of the new Beach Cleaning Foundation, the Sint Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and Rotary Club of Sint Maarten as main drivers of the purchase.
The initiative of acquiring a purpose-built beach cleaning machine was taken by the SHTA in 2018 in order to enhance and maintain the tourism product by cleaning St. Maarten’s main economic asset, its gorgeous beaches. The association wanted to make sure debris from past weather events was removed from Sint Maarten beach sand so they can be enjoyed in a safe manner and at the same time restoring their natural beauty.
SHTA, in its quest to find support throughout society to realize the project, found strong partners in the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten and Rotary Club Sint Maarten Mid-Isle where it evolved into a joint project between the clubs. Consulting the Nature Foundation, insights were provided for environmentally responsible use of the device, for example in relation to turtle nesting season and specifics how the device would need to be used in order to best protect natural habitats.
On the initiative of district 7020, Rotarians in the United States created a disaster fund to support Caribbean projects for recovery after past storms. Rotarians from all over the world contributed to this fund. Rotary Sint Maarten was able to secure help from this fund for the project. In conjunction with the Heineken Regatta Foundation, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and Rotary Mid-Isle it organized two major fundraisers during the Heineken Regattas of 2018 and 2019.
Sharing the goal of preserving Sint Maarten beaches, the project has been generously supported by Port Sint Maarten from early on. One of the foreign organizations that contributed to the collection of the approximately needed 150,000 USD was ANWB (the Netherlands). Producer Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG (Germany) provided a generous discount for the cause of Sint Maarten’s recovery.
To maintain the device and secure regular upkeep for years to come, a special Beach Cleaner foundation has been founded. The first board of the newly established foundation will consist of members John Caputo (Rotary / SHTA), Marc Groeneveld (AON Insurances) and Ricardo Perez (Oyster Bay Beach Resort General Manager, Apartment Owners Association of Coral Beach Club and SHTA Executive Board Member).
The not-for-profit Foundation, in collaboration with Windward Roads, will make the beach cleaning machine available to any entity on Sint Maarten at a nominal operational cost on a request basis. Apartment Owners of Coral Beach Club will provide space for daily storage and upkeep at their facility.
Personnel involved with the beach cleaner has been in ongoing training by producer Kässbohrer for the past 2 weeks. In addition, part of the training given to the operators by the Nature Foundation will include pre-operation inspections of the beaches searching for potential seasonal turtle nesting and how to avoid them, protect them and communicate it to the Nature Foundation in the event any are identified.
Outcomes of a recent survey executed by SHTA amongst 10,000 tourists that previously visited St. Maarten reconfirmed the importance of the beaches as one of the main attractions for their visit. The Association is very proud to have spearheaded this initiative in order to maintain and protect our natural resources. It thanks Rotary Sint Maarten and Rotary Mid-Isle, Port Sint Maarten, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, the Heineken Regatta, ANWB, Kässbohrer and its regional representative Maison de Guadeloupe et des Îles and the many individual volunteers contributing to the project. For more information about the Beach Cleaner please contact SHTA at 1-(721)-542-0108.
The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information, please contact our offices at 542-0108 or visit our website at www.shta.com