September 13, 2012 4:55 PM
WILLEMSTAD — The construction of the new hospital on the former Amstel premises obstructs permanent development in the Schottegat area, says Lloyd Narain of environmental organization Amigu de Tera.
The departure of St. Elisabeth Hospital from Otrobanda will also have negative economic consequences for that quarter. According to Narain, the entire industrial sector, CPA Chamber of Commerce and the Association Business Community Curaçao should lodge an objection.
The two environmental organizations Amigu di Tera and Defensa Ambiental will lodge an objection against the construction of the new hospital on the former Amstel premises, also known as Scadta-island. Up to Monday, September 17th, interested parties can view the construction plans and submit their objections to the Ministry of Traffic, Transport and Regional Planning. According to Narain, more organizations that are involved with rural development intend to file a complaint.
The main objection of Amigu di Tera is that an important economic function will leave Otrobanda. The hospital in the inner city not only provides extra employment, but attracts more business to that quarter. “For example, visitors have a cup of coffee or buy something in the city before and after a visit to the hospital”, said Narain. “Otrobanda will pine away. All purchasing power will leave Otrobanda. The government’s policy actually focuses on fortifying that quarter but the opposite will happen”, said Narain.
Furthermore, the hospital complex takes up a huge part of Otrobanda, namely one-third of the quarter. According to Narain, since 1994 the government strives to renovate the old quarter. “New development on the hospital premises can also be considered renovation of Otrobanda.”
By law, the Amstel area is industrial zone. In other words, an amendment is required to build the new hospital. The government requested exemption because of the urgent interest. The latter hasn’t been established, according to Amigu di Tera. Moreover, a current advice from the Council financial supervision (Cft) rejects the construction plans. According to Cft, the government is first to fortify the health care.
Narain thinks the new purpose of the premises doesn’t correspond with the plans of the Ministry of Economic Development. The ministry is working on a plan for the harbor. Curaçao is to become an important player again in the region. However, there’s a huge shortage of properties for harbor activities. The Schottegat area also falls under the harbor. According to Narain, the minister of Health wants to use the property for an activity that is not related to the harbor at all. Narain: “It’s a complete chaos and it seems the government isn’t considering the economic consequences and the future development of the island. The island development plan EOP, which is the basis of the regional development of the island, is being annihilated. The coalition program states to strive for permanent development, but the coalition doesn’t put this into practice.”