There are some who say it will never be developed because it has not come back to the people as it should have.
Some even say it is cursed. Regardless of the reasons, the Sheraton has been plagued with problems and failed attempts to resurrect the original intention of a five-star hotel.
Maybe that is the problem in itself; the land doesn’t want to be a five-star hotel reserved only for the rich and lazy, and not for the people of the island. More disturbing is the idea that Tim Tepaki who has already had one failed attempt at the Sheraton and many other failed attempts at business, is involved.
Then there’s the fact that he and his sidekick Freddie Webb, who is a night manager at Club Raro, are the directors and leaders in this major development, apparently worth $300 million.
Who in their right minds would go into business with people with a CV of lost causes and failed attempts at development? Obviously the government is keen to get in however they can with their best friends from China, who have had the run of constructing all our large buildings to very sub-standard standards.
If there was nothing in it for Puna and his CIP Party, then surely other Chinese contractors should have been given a chance to bid for the work. But no, it is the same company, same promises of help and the same importation of many Chinese workers who live in what looks to me to be squalid conditions at the building of the Nikao school.
Blue overalls hang outside makeshift lines strung up outside the old Nikao Maori classrooms.There are multi-beds per room. Where are the toilets and shower facilities to cope with these living conditions?
Has Health and Safety taken time to see if these workers are treated well and living conditions are up to a decent standard of the kind we all would expect?
Tepaki’s mention of his plan to reconstruct the Sheraton building says 300 Chinese will arrive here to build this and other developments along with 200 locals. Where are they going to live? It’s such a pie in the sky concept. And as for the Sheraton being a feeder hotel to the MOP outer islands dreams, it is as the letter-writer “Paradise Threatened” said: Charter flights of Chinese will arrive, they will go straight to the resort and there they will stay until shipped out to the next Chinese-run hotel in the Pa Enua.
There will be no reward for the local people, no help for the landowners, and the fee for visiting the waterfall will no doubt increase to make more cash off the tourists housed within the Sheraton.
It will no longer be known as the Sheraton, it will become the Shanghai ShantyTown.
Is that what we want? NO it isn’t, so the person who has been threatening to overthrow Pa Ariki better get their skates on and get rumbling, because this is getting out of control.
Long Live the Curse
(Name and address supplied)