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Grand-Bay - Tourist Showcase in Ruins
L'Express (Port Louis)
April 30, 2007
Posted to the web April 30, 2007
By Olivier Masson
Large potholes, pitch-black roads, erratic pavements, wrinkled walls; this gloomy landscape is not that of a forgotten zone of our towns. Nor are we in a jungle of concrete, with no place of interest. This ruined face is that of the main tourist village of the island: Grand-Bay, on its coastal front. After protests from Goodlands, more and more people are pointing out to the treatment reserved to this supposed tourist showcase.
One of the distinctive features of the village is the number of cafés and restaurants. Maren Müller, a sassy tenant of a café on Royal Road, has a true sense of humour and joy of living. Yet one of her clients came at her table with a sore leg: "There are places with no pavement. He had made a fall." In other parts of the locality, which have pavements, cars are parked on them so that visitors have to follow local pedestrians, who usually walk in the middle of the road. "Some lorries, which are parked for hours in front of some shops, prevent them from being noticed by passers-by. Ultimately, most of my clients don't walk through Grand-Bay. They take the bus and have just a quick glimpse."
"Nightmare of moving around"
This is confirmed by small hotel managers like Jean-Claude Commarmond, who runs a hotel-restaurant on the ex-Club Road : "The state of the road is appalling. Especially when it rains. The potholes make moving around a nightmare not only for drivers but also for pedestrians. They spoil my clients' holidays. And they are a health hazard, as the water stays for days."
Whatever we think of its uncontrolled expansion, we have to recognize that Grand-Bay village is always animated. Nightlife is one of the main attractions. But as points out a travel agency manager (he has asked his name not to be revealed) who drives regularly around the bay, one can barely see on the roads, save the lamps and episodic full moon!
Contrarily to Grand-Gaube, which has benefited from private funding to support cleaning measures, Grand-Bay seems to stand like an unnoticed big mama, begging for attention. However, the authorities are aware of the poor situation. An important meeting was held recently with the minister of Local government, James Burty David, and district councillors from Grand-Baie-Poudre-d'Or constituency, with MPs of the area, Rohit Guttee, Dhananjay Rucktooa, and minister Madan Dulloo.
Management plan for July
Councilors have brought up the issues of irregular garbage collection and bad road-lighting. Ranjiv Woochit stressed that the district council had begun a campaign for the replacement of lights. Minister David suggested to have recourse to private sponsorship for some projects, because of the high cost of maintenance staff. Seemingly there has been no credit release in the North since the voting of its last budget. Instead, some projects have been frozen.
On the street front, the Road Development Authority has announced a management plan for July. But this does not solve the present situation. Meanwhile, when it rains, some shopkeepers on the main road don't hesitate to put drums on the way to prevent their showcases from being splashed. That does not save the image of Grand-Bay from being disappointing.
Copyright © 2007 L'Express.