Vistors: Chaguaramas boardwalk ‘looks horrible, run-down’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Newsday reporter Nicholas Maraj points to a broken board at the Chaguaramas Boardwalk on October 26. The condition of the boardwalk has been allowed to deteriorate over the past four years. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Visitors are troubled about the bad condition of Chaguaramas boardwalk and are appealing to the relevant authorities in two letters written to Newsday in October.

In one letter, C Alexander asked, “What is going on with Chaguaramas boardwalk? Has the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) been asleep for the past eight years?” In the other, J Ali asked the Minister of Tourism, “When last have you visited the boardwalk? It looks horrible and run-down.”

The CDA built the boardwalk to provide visitors with a usable space for commerce and recreation. Former chairman of the CDA Danny Solomon said in an interview in 2012, “It’s our mission to make Chaguaramas a clean, eco-friendly environment.”

He said the CDA’s mandate was “to make Chaguaramas a world-class eco-tourism destination, entertainment and business centre.”

The boardwalk, located on the Western Main Road along part of the sea front of the northwest peninsula, was built in two phases and cost $40 million. The first phase of the boardwalk was opened in 2012. The second phase, a 1,300-foot extension of the first, opened in December 2014.

The Chaguaramas Boardwalk remains in a state of disrepair on October 26. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Solomon said the boardwalk – particularly the second phase, which included recreational facilities such as gazebos, rock-climbing, cooking areas and more – was the CDA’s plan to build family life in a healthy, safe and fun environment.

When Newsday visited, it was covered with sand and litter and its solar-powered lights were broken. Several boards were lifting, and some were missing or broken, making it dangerous for visitors to walk on.

Surrounding benches have become severely dilapidated. There were half-full bins and abandoned, dilapidated lifeguard booths. Stalls that were once occupied by food vendors are now closed and empty.

The seashore is visibly polluted and the sea dirty, frothy, brown and full of debris, even though the CDA launched CEPEP Marine in 2012, which was intended to clean up the coastline in the area.

The pond, located near the gazebos, is now moss-filled, green, surrounded with overgrown bush, and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The restrooms were locked. There were six foot-taps in front of the restroom but only two were working.

One woman there said she visits every day to bathe. When Newsday asked what she thought of the state of the boardwalk, she said, “It is disgusting and dangerous.

Where is the maintenance people for here (the boardwalk)? Every government facility is supposed to have constant maintenance.”

David Rampersad, another regular visitor to the boardwalk, commented on the restrooms, “Could you imagine, there are toilets here and they don’t even open it for people to use? Every Saturday people would come to clean the toilets, then lock them again when they leave.”

CDA Corporate Communications manager, Karen Clarke-Rowley, told Newsday that e-mail was her preferred means of communication for comments but an e-mail sent to her received no response to date.

Chairman of the CDA Gupte Lutchmedial and the line minister for the CDA, Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles, could not be reached for comment.(With reporting by Nicholas Maraj.)