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New kiosk is opportunity and obligation

Guernsey Press Comment | Published:

WITH a mechanical digger parked where holidaymakers and locals like to take their tea and admire the view it is not surprising that the tenant of the L’Ancresse East kiosk does not want to take up the 2018 lease.

Once the piling work is complete, a firm platform built near the kiosk and 400 tons of boulders craned onto the beach and piled against the wall it would be a brave tenant willing to take a gamble on being ready to trade this spring and summer.

Environment & Infrastructure says the business will now be put out to open tender, but it was made clear in September’s debate that the kiosk is far from a goldmine for the States.

Balanced against rents of £22,000 over the past 10 years the costs of keeping the kiosk wind and watertight amounted to almost £30,000 since the turn of the century. In the next decade it was expected to cost tens of thousands more.

The toilets and kiosk were acknowledged to be a ‘fantastic amenity’ for the island but at the same time E&I’s president questioned whether they were cost-effective.

It is that balance between cost and amenity that will determine with how much enthusiasm E&I follows the States instruction to replace the kiosk through a public-private partnership.

It is vital that they find a way.

Islanders will rightly see the 20 to 11 vote in favour of replacing the old toilets and kiosk as a cast-iron promise, not something that can ultimately prove too difficult and fall by the wayside.

A better building, sympathetic to the surroundings and complete with toilets can be a commercial venture that takes full advantage of the promised sandy dunes.

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But the States should still look on the deal not as a revenue opportunity but as a civic responsibility.

The delay in the demolition work gives the States time to identify the best spot to put the kiosk and start talking to commercial partners.

Just by identifying the site, the States will offer hope that they are going to live up to their promise and be an expression of confidence that the doom-mongers are wrong and they are not worried about flooding.

Shaun Green

By Shaun Green
author

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