Posted December 6, 2018
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The Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDECOTT) said it is in 'ardent negotiations' to take over management of Maracas Beach, after citizens and tour operators commented on the beach's shabby appearance.
The response comes after tour operator Stephen Broadbridge took photos showing debris, food huts with inadequate shelter for customers, and bits of construction items such as PVC pipes lying on the beach.
Corporate Communications Manager, Roxanne Stapleton-Whyms, said to LoopTT that the works should begin by December 17, 2018.
"The Ministry of Tourism and UDeCOTT are presently in ardent negotiations to finalize the Administrative and Facilities Management Agreement for the Maracas Beach Facility."
"Both the Ministry and UDeCOTT share the urgency in getting the Beach restored to its former beautiful state and UDeCOTT anticipates these works would begin by December 17th, 2018."
Stapleton-Whyms said UDECOTT would be responsible for the overall administration and maintenance of the beach and all its amenities, as well maintaining order with regard to the management of beach chair rentals.
As of November 2018, there were two contractors left on the beach, both falling under the responsibility of NIDCO through the Works and Transport.
"UDeCOTT and the Ministry of Tourism have held meetings with NIDCO to discuss the completion of works by these contractors and their demobilization. This is a key part of the beach cleanup exercise planned by UDeCOTT and will hamper the overall success if this is not done," Stapleton-Whyms said.
NIDCO chairman, Herbert George, told LoopTT that if there were any debris left behind by the contractors under their purview then they would conduct the necessary clean-up.
Stapleton-Whyms said the food booths, which were recently constructed as part of the beach's redesign, can be improved as a separate project.
"The original design of the vendor booths could be improved and UDeCOTT, as a separate project, to the Administrative and Facilities Management Agreement, is in active discussions with the Ministry to improve and enhance the overall customer experience for all beachgoers."
"These plans are presently being negotiated and they include a far more aesthetically pleasing area assigned to dining," she said.
Stapleton-Whyms added that the unregulated management of beach chair rentals would be replaced with a 'more orderly system' after citizens made complaints that they were being bullied into renting chairs on the beach.
"Finally, the overall safety, security and general enjoyment of the beach would become part of UDeCOTT’s responsibility, therefore the present unregulated rental of beach chairs and other such paraphernalia, would come to an end and replaced with a more controlled and orderly system."
"UDeCOTT would like to assure the public that we share their concerns and interest in the restoration of our beloved Maracas Beach Facility and we will deliver on such."
"We thank the public for its patience and look forward to working with all in this venture," UDECOTT said.