Once a week, on Sundays I publish a recap from news updates about Aruba. If this is your first time reading my newsletter – welcome!
News Updates About Aruba
A lot happened this week in Aruba. Can you imagine so many developments happening on such a tiny island?
Let’s get started with what we’ve all been waiting for to happen….
Taking Down Bushiri Hotel
The old bushiri hotel is completely gone!
A few days ago the last part of the resort was knocked down. Here’s a picture of the last piece of the building as it’s being dismantled.
The building was there for years with no use, now there’s a beautiful strip of beach dotted with palm trees.
According to the government no hotel or commercial buildings will be created here. This location will be used as a new beach and recreational area for locals and visitors.
We can finally close the chapter of Aruba bushiri hotel, which formed an important part of Aruba’s hotel industry.
New Maneho Medio Ambiente
The new minister of nature and environment means business with his new proposal to introduce a new legislation to protect our environment from now on.
The new coalition of government all campaigned with improvement of our environment.
According to the department of nature & environment, the previous minister didn’t do much regarding protection of nature here on the island. They are happy with the recent meetings on solving issues regarding our nature.
The new minister ordered a rapport to be delivered within 90 days that has to be updated with the current state of the infrastructure, giving of lots to build homes and government projects.
With this new rapport, a step in the right direction will be made towards a balanced growth, development and care for our environment.
More Info on new Hotel
In last weeks newsletter I mentioned the plans of building a new resort near blue residences on palm beach was in the news.
The news about the hotel gained a lot of controversy, because it’s near a protected wetland by the Aruba Bird Life Conservation foundation (ABC) – they claim construction is prohibited in this area.
ABC doesn’t approve of the new resort, because 40% of the property is being built on a protected wetland.
However the project is already approved by the previous minister, prior to the elections in September 2017.
The new minister of infrastructure requested more information regarding the construction of the new hotel and advice from government agencies on the ongoing development. Now that the new minister of environment wants to protect Aruba’s nature he has a handful with this controversial project.
This wetland is one of the 16 protected areas by the arikok national park.
According to the ABC the project is about 5.000 square meters and exceeds the area in the space development plan made by the government and that’s against the law.
The president of ABC promised to take the engineering firm and investors to court for building on a protected area.
This is going to be settled in court.
Here’s an aerial view of the empty lot for the new suites, the area marked with red is the protected wetland.
Project Harbor Area
The building known as “Mar Azul” near the cruise port has a new owner and they plan to renovate the building and bring it back to life.
Mar azul was created years ago as a commercial and residential area, however it was occupied with stores for a while, but suddenly was emptied and remained unused for years.
The new owners are keeping the residential and commercial idea behind the building, but they will make a few changes, like the name which will be “Harbor House”.
They named it harbor house due to it’s location (close to the cruise port) and its functionality.
At the moment Mar Azul has a total of 94 apartments on the top floors and 19 commercial buildings on the ground level.
Harbor house will have 94 apartments, 12 commercial buildings (which will be shops and restaurants) and 7 kiosks for local artists to display their crafts.
There’s also going to be more parking spots, a total of 140 spots – 100 more than the lot on Mar Azul which only has 40 parking spots.
Mar azul also includes a fish market.
The fish market is very sentimental to this part of the island, because years ago there was a popular fish market right here.
According to the investors the building will be a success based on the location and the change in architecture they will make which is different than to what it is now.
The renovation of the building will commence in 2018. In total about 30 million dollars will be invested into restoring and beautifying the building.
General Aviation Terminal For Sale
The concession agreement of the company in charge of the private “general aviation terminal” (which is Universal Aviation) is ending on December 31, 2017.
Maybe you’ve heard the rumors that the private airline terminal to the south of the island is for sale, and the rumor is true!
Since the current contract is coming to an end soon the terminal went into a bidding process, which ended December 1, 2017.
During the bidding process any company or person could express their interest in owning the private terminal. However, the final decision as to who will own it is in the hands of the Aruba Airport.
No one knows who the winner of the bid is, but the announcement will be made before December 18, 2017. Starting January 1, 2018 the new management can officially take over the complete operation of the aviation terminal.
According to Claudius Stamper, who runned the terminal for the last couple of years, their biggest market was Venezuela, but the business isn’t as lucrative as it once was.
Because the current crisis that Venezuela is in had a negative impact on the company’s revenue, and he doesn’t see the situation changing anytime soon.
“Whoever takes over has a lot of work to do, I wish them success to make the private terminal greater than it is now” were the words of the Claudius Stamper during an interview.
Coney Island Under Construction
Last week I mentioned that there’s a coney island on the island.
There isn’t a date set yet for the official opening of the park because they are still installing the rides at the moment and the rides have to pass 4 inspections by the local authorities before it opens.
“It’s the largest coney island park ever in Aruba” according to the head of the department of inspection.
There’s a total of 28 rides in this family oriented park, for kids, teens and adults.
This week the local authorities did a preliminary inspection on the park and they approved it. However, there’s still 3 other inspections to be done which includes a final evaluation after all the rides have been installed, before the park is opened to the public.
If the park passes the inspection it will stay on the island for about 2 months and about 70 locals will get a part time job either being a ticket vendor, security, or managing the equipment.
The coney island is located close to the cruise port, which is on the L.G. Smith Boulevard.
Rumors about No More Paid Parking
There’s been rumors that paid parking will be eliminated and the main street will be re-opened to the traffic.
Well, the rumors are kind of true, not completely.
Truth is that the new minister of transportation wants to eliminate paid parking and open back traffic for the main street.
The decision hasn’t been made yet officially, but it’s just an idea of what the minister wants to implement in the near future.
Before any official announcement are made, the minister needs to negotiate with Aruparking, the company in charge of paid parking if the parking meters can be completely removed.
As far as opening the main street for traffic, the minister has to negotiate with Arutram (owners of the electric tram in the downtown area) to find out what is really possible.
He also wants to extend store opening hours after 6 pm, for cruise passengers, but the schedule depends when there’s ships docked.
There’s no official news as of yet, so lets wait and see what solutions they will come up with after their negotiations. I covered the rules about paid parking in Aruba in a recent article.
Gone With Citgo Desk
The new minister of labor eliminated the “citgo desk” made by the previous government.
Citgo Desk was created to hire locals and contractors to work in the refinery. But according to the new minister of labor, the desk wasn’t functioning properly and made way for a lot of corruption in regards to work permits.
So they are making a new “desk” called oil and gas industrial desk which will employ locals for the refinery.
Locals and contractors will be re-registered and given preference to job selections.
One of the agreements within the contract between citgo and the government is a 80/20 rule, which means 80% of the workers in the refinery must be locals and the rest can be international.
With local workers the minister means people dutch nationalities, it doesn’t matter if they were born in Aruba or not. People that have been working on the island for years with a working permit without a dutch nationality also have preference for jobs in the refinery.
Coast Control By Land & Sea
The new minister of justice added two jeep wranglers to the fleet of cars, especially to patrol the north coasts of Aruba.
It’s been 20 years since the “kustwacht surveillance” which consisted of the police, customs and coast guard patrolled the north coast of the island. Since the coastguard got their own boat, they stopped this team and the coastguard got full control of Aruba’s coast.
With the new jeeps, our coast are better protected from unwanted visitors who are trying to sneak into paradise.
These jeep wranglers really have big tires, lift kits, skid plates, special blue light that make them visible from miles away.
Christmas Season in Aruba
A few more weeks, and it’s Christmas!
It’s tradition on the island to decorate houses with lights. But there’s a few houses on the island that take Christmas decorations to the next level.
One of the beautifully decorated Christmas houses in Aruba cas di luz which is located in San Nicolas (weg seroe preto).
This week it was officially opened to the public.
It’s a castle like building completely decorated with lights and ornaments. A must visit place on the island if you’re visiting during Christmas season.
Not only the decors are nice to see, but there’s also great ambiance by local bands with live music, local Christmas foods and drinks.
The lights turn on at 7.00 pm until 11.00 pm during the week, but during the weekends they stay on after 12.00 AM.
You can visit cas di luz until January 5, 2018.
There’s also more houses that take Christmas decorations seriously and that’s in the district of Sero Jan Flemming and WaraWara.
Both these districts also have a lot of decorated houses and are also worth viewing.
Fireworks in Aruba
Tradition here in Aruba after Christmas is the joy of buying fireworks, called “Klapchi” on the island.
Over a dozen containers filled with klapchi just arrived a few days ago. Now it’s time for the permit holders to collect their fireworks and sell them in their stores.
You can buy fireworks on the island from December 27, 2017 until December 31, 2017.
The sky is going to be lit on new years, a must see!
Grand Opening New Intermezzo Day spa Location
Intermezzo day spa is inviting you to their grand opening of their new location next to Tony Roma’s building (in front of Holiday Inn).
It all starts December 14, 2017 at 6.00 pm featuring d’licious band with live music and entertainment. The opening event is so big, it’s 3 consecutive days following with Christmas fairs on December 16 – 17. There’s going to be arts crafts, accessories and beauty products at the fair. Come and celebrate the opening of this new spa with us.
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