July 24, 2012
Tourism developer says no to Paradise School at LBS site

A tourism developer in Lower Bay, Bequia is concerned that his US$3 million investment will be jeopardized if the Bequia Paradise Primary School relocates{{more}} to the building that formerly housed the defunct Lower Bay School (LBS).

The privately-owned Paradise Primary and the Bequia Rotary Club are heading for a legal battle over the property for which they each say they have a 99-year lease.

But two businesses in the area told SEARCHLIGHT they don’t want the school, which was located some distance away in Lower Bay, to move into the LBS building.

Paradise Primary was given one year’s notice to relocate from the property it occupied for the past 12 years and school owners are fearful that it may have to close if a suitable location is not found before school reopens, early September.

“Personally, we really don’t want the school to be there,” Clint Hazell told SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday as he painted “Hazeco Cottages” — six one-bedroom and one two-bedroom self-contained condominiums.

“We have just done a serious tourism investment in this property and we are in the process of selling them as condominiums and … I really don’t feel a school is feasible for a site like that,” he said.

“So, it is serious. I think it will drive the value down and it will hamper me from moving forward with the sale of the development and to do the condominiums,” Hazell said.

“There is a place for schools. Kids need playgrounds; kids need space. That’s not space. I have no problem with education, I think it is great. We need it. But a school in that facility? No! I think the kids need a bigger facility, more room,” Hazell further stated.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that before starting the development he knew the LBS to be leased to the Rotary Club for 99 years.

“… I just can’t see a school there. … I just think it is going to hamper the whole process of tourism development when you are having a school going on. I mean — it’s kids.”

Hazell’s wife Millie Hazell feels the same way about the school relocating to the LBS building.

“I feel that the tourism development is the main development in the country right now. I love kids and I don’t want to see anything happen to kids, but it is a private school and it is going to hamper us here with the sale of the property, our development,” she told SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday.

“She said that other areas would be better suited for the school and that its owners should seek help from the government.

“I am sure that if they contacted the government in some way they would find feasible place for the school,” Millie said.

“It is a nice school,” she said of the institution that has 62 students and nine teachers.

“But there are 60-something children. Where are they going to play? It will be noisy area during the day. Even though they say the school is quiet, but when recess and stuff you will have kids making noise. You don’t want to hamper the kids either, but there is a place for schools and a place for tourism development,” she further told Searchlight.

Another business operator in the area, who did not want to be named, is also objecting to a school in the vicinity.

“I don’t think it would suit me right. … The thing about kids is that kids are kids. And how are you going to tell 60 kids don’t make noise? You can’t even tell your child not to make noise,” the business person told SEARCHLIGHT. (KXC)