Three pools for all the children on the island to learn and finally know how to swim. A project that we have been talking about for decades and which will see the light of day.
Contrary to what some people sometimes claim, the presence of a nautical center is a necessity. The vast majority of overseas territories benefit from it. This type of infrastructure makes it possible to set up an initiation to swimming in a school environment and to organize annual competitions.
It is on the basis of the observation that 82% of the 9000 young people educated on the island - from the small section of pre-elementary school to BTS - do not master swimming that the elected officials decided to create a real nautical center and a residence for visiting sportsmen. This nautical center will meet the legal provisions which provide for the teaching of swimming at school and will offer children and young people in Saint-Martin an infrastructure open on weekends and during school holidays. This 6 million euros project is funded by the Ministry of Overseas Territories to the tune of 3,9 million €, the Community for 900 € and Europe for 000 million €.
Three pools for adults and children
Adopted by the executive council, the nautical center project started with the launch of a competition open to architects last July. The winner of the competition will be chosen during the month of January 2021 and the opening of the nautical center is expected in the first quarter of 2022. The structure will be built in the Savane sector. This vast nautical center project, voted after a year of design and studies, will offer a new infrastructure in Saint-Martin and make way for a beautiful aquatic center: two 25-meter pools, respectively 25 and 15 meters wide, a 60 m2 paddling pool for babies and toddlers, changing rooms, a snack area open to all, all set in 1,3 hectares of gardens. The construction of some twenty studios for rental will accommodate visiting teams during competitions, while making the space profitable. The modes of management, collectivity or delegation of public service, will be decided by the executive and the territorial assembly over the next year.
Job creation in sight
If the major idea remains to ensure the safety of everyone in an aquatic environment - which is moreover on an island - it is obvious that the practice of swimming opens the door to a whole series of tourist jobs, today beyond 'impairment for people who cannot swim. In terms of job creation, the Collectivité is preparing specifications for the one-year training of the eight lifeguards needed to open the aquatic sports complex. At the same time, five to six technicians will be dedicated to the technical maintenance of the pools. Five to six other jobs will be assigned to the management of the sports residence and around fifteen additional jobs for the maintenance of the premises, parks and gardens will complete the team dedicated to the nautical center. Finally, a security team will be set up to allow harmonious use of the center and prevent vandalism.
Swimming pool for everyone!
The opening of the pools will be divided between school hours in the morning and afternoon, water sports at lunchtime, club training in the evening. The training of divers, firefighters and the possibility of obtaining certificates will complete this unique offer. The public will be delighted to learn that it will be possible to spend a great day at the swimming pool on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday as well as during school holidays.
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