Monday, April 06, 2009

Marpi Heats Up

The next big environmental issue is about to heat up. This time it is a little bit closer to home and will have a big impact on a number of stakeholders in Saipan.  I'm talking about the homestead in Marpi.  A number of letters have already appeared in the newspapers by Jesse Torres and Ruth Tighe.  Ed Propst has written about it several times on his blog.  Tomorrow a letter by David Banes will appear in the Saipan Tribune.
Dear Editor,

I have lived on Saipan for 16 years and seen lots of issues come and go. This is my first protest letter however.

One of my favorite spots on Saipan is the Marpi area especially the area around Suicide Cliff. I was devastated the other day to see a large area bulldozed flat apparently for a homestead right where one of the great vista views looking south is and right where tourists going to Suicide Cliff must drive by. Not only will this development affect the scenic beauty of the area, but also the area has special spiritual and historical significance to our biggest tourism market: the Japanese . Think how the project will affect that as well.

Hey, I am all for homesteads. But why so close to a major tourist area? Right now our only economy is tourism, yet with our tourism declining , we will build a major development spoiling one of the prettiest , historical and spiritual areas of Saipan? Why there? Why not somewhere more developed? Why near a tourist spot?

For example, why not work something out with the landowners of the abandoned garment factor ies to put homesteads there? This would have several positive results: bring families back to places like San Anton io and help revitalize these areas and not cut down any more trees or otherwise affect the beauty or historical value of Saipan. Or if that is not feasible, put some homestead in a more developed, less touristy area. And if we are to build homesteads, why not do them properly , ie. make a proper Village out of them with a school, shopping area already planned out?

I believe the CNMI cannot afford to take any action that will negatively detract from the beauty , historical or spiritual significance of our islands which is what brings the tour ists here. Please, please reconsider.

Very truly yours,

David G. Banes
I think the ball is just starting to roll on this issue. It is much more complicated than the monument issue. I'm too busy to write about the different issues and people involved, but I'll get to it some time after Earth Day.

Right now the Island Wide Cleanup demands my attention.

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