The Island is making substantial progress in its recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma. Roads have been cleared of debris, and major clean-up efforts are underway Island-wide with the island looking much improved in a relatively short period of time. Supermarkets have reopened, and the food and water supply are back to pre-Hurricane level. Electric and water have been restored to most areas of St. Maarten including to our Resort. We have public water to all areas of the Resort that are capable of accepting the water through undamaged plumbing. GEBE has brought public power to our gates, and we will be able to resume public power after we make repairs to a few switches and electrical connections for us to safely accept the public electricity.
Our staff is working very hard to clean-up the Resort. After taking a substantial number of photographs and preparing written reports of the damage for insurance purposes, we have formed project work teams to tackle debris removal in various areas of the Resort. Our initial focus is to remove standing water from the units and common areas and dispose of furniture, fixtures, rugs and construction debris that is saturated with water and unusable. We are also trying to preserve the drywall by removing the bottom layer of sheetrock that was submerged in water to prevent mold. We are also pruning the trees, shrubs and flower beds with the hope that we can save much of the lush landscaping that we have enjoyed over the years.
Our architects and claim adjusters are aggressively moving forward with the damage assessment and claim preparation. We are also interviewing contractors and construction management firms to begin the reconstruction cost assessment and timeline for completion of the rebuilding of the Resort. We still have a long way to go but we are working hard to get the process started as our goal is to be one of the first Resorts to break ground on the rebuilding efforts
The initial damage reports indicate that about half of the units need to be fully reconstructed. The remaining units require something less than a full reconstruction with some needing relatively superficial repairs. Most need some if not all furniture replacement. We hope to divide the work so that the lighter work can be accomplished by our local contractors who have been renovating and rebuilding units for us for the last seven years and have done an excellent job. We think the partially damaged units can be fully repaired by these contractors. It would also give a head start to the schedule of when we can once again accept guests. We’re hoping to open the first units in 9 months, but that is a very preliminary estimate. Once we receive bids, we’ll be able to predict more accurately if that goal can be met. The more damaged units would be bid out to several larger contractors. We are preparing the documents, plans, and specifications necessary to put out a Request for Bids. We will be depending on the availability of skilled labor and materials which will be affected by the other areas struck by Hurricanes as they may be competing for the same resources. Once we receive bids for the more intensive work, we’ll be able to better estimate the schedule for full availability in a completely restored resort.
The GoFundMe page, seeking to raise money for the employees has been quite successful, reaching $107,000 as of this writing. We expect to receive more as donations are still coming in. We and the employees are more than grateful for the outpouring of sentiment, compliments, and prayers for the staff and resort as well as the generosity of the donors. We are all deeply moved and appreciative. The success of the fundraising effort and the comments being made spur us on to fully focus on the date when we can once again accept as guests the wonderfully generous people who donated on the page as well as all of our owners and fans.
Our senior management is compiling information on the employee’s situations to determine what portion of the fund should go to each. Criteria include; amount and urgency of need, wage earned by the employee, tenure and other factors to be determined, as we progress in the process. Full and complete disclosure will be made after the money has been distributed. To donate, please visit GoFundMe.com/OysterBay or click on the button below.
We have been taking many calls at our home office and at the resort (phones and electricity have been restored) from owners who want to find alternative accommodations during the reconstruction period or bank their usage with OBBR or Interval until we reopen. We have also worked out an arrangement with Interval International for our owner’s to use accommodations in the following Interval International Premier rated Resorts;
- Sheraton Vistana Villages and Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando, Florida
- Bliss Jungle and the Grand Bliss in Riviera Maya, Mexico
- The Mayan Palace and Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta
- The Grand Mayan in Puerto Penasco
We have been able to fill every request for a trade through Interval International. As you can see, Interval International has been very supportive through this process and assure us that they will continue to work with us to find alternative accommodations for our owners until we can re-open the Resort. They also made a substantial donation to the employee aid fund.
As we progress and have reliable information on our plan, we will update this site.
Thank you again for your generosity and patience,