Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Has The Sun Set On Sunset Crest?
They were state-of-the-art when they were completed in the late 1960s and early 1970s to house the influx of Canadian visitors who could not get enough of our shores. The concept was simple - build a village of vacation cottages on an old sugar plantation and rent them out to the Canadian snowbirds for a few weeks at a time. It seemed to work for a while, in fact, it transformed Holetown from a sleepy little backwater into the dynamo it is today at the center of tourism on what has come to be called the Platinum Coast. But something happened on the way the bank - Suntours, the Canadian outfit behind the project went belly-up.
From that time onwards the cottages and apartments at Sunset Crest have had some serious challenges. Many of them were sold off as residences to locals as well as visitors to the island. Some were purchased as tourism investments and many of these have sadly fallen into disrepair. The area itself has seen probably more than its fair share of criminal and other dubious activity. An acquaintance who rented an apartment there last year moved out after a few months after it became clear that the apartment above hers was really a brothel, and it did not help when its clients were knocking in error on her door all hours of the night.
Another acquaintance bought several apartments which were then pooled with others through a tourism rental agency. Not only did this acquaintance make no money on the venture, but was finally forced to sell because of the high cost of the agency’s frequent and suspected unnecessary maintenance and the lost of furniture and other appliances which the agency was farming out to other apartments in the pool that were in better repair to meet its guest demand. Heavy rains still create havoc in the area as most of the houses were built flat on the ground in a known flood-prone area.
The ongoing spate of hotel and restaurant closings on the West Coast together with the whole movement to condos and apartments demonstrate how unpredictable and indeed dynamic the business of tourism can be. Just because the objects we see today are set in stone is no guarantee they will be there tomorrow. The lesson in it all for the rest of us locals and visitors looking on is to be as adaptable and as flexible as the changes we see, for in the age of globalization the world is rapidly running out of options just the way we like them, for those options have all become as mercurial as the crest of a sunset.