Pomponette Public Beach Experience
Pomponette (public) beach has an ongoing story which sadly may be bound to last some more months or years, period during which the word “public” will remain in brackets.
Pomponette is a 10-hectare jewel with a 900-metre beach front on, the South coast of Mauritius; the least-developed coastal region of Mauritius and it has often been said with a pinch of shame, as if sparing a piece of coast from speculative concrete buildings was a policy of failure.
At mru2025 this southern coast is our hope for a better future, a lab for our vision of a 21st century coastal planning and it will be our pride when we will have managed to get support for the implementation of a geopark where citizens and visitors alike will be able to enjoy the beauty and comfort of a nature-driven environment management. Pomponette (public) beach is the core, the heart and the highlight of this master-plan.
Some phantom company named Midas Acropolis drew the jackpot after the 2005 elections when it managed to obtain the Pomponette site which was leased at that time to another potential promoter. When the 2014 elections brought in a new alliance, the winds turned from tail to head for Midas which had to drop its hotel project it did not succeed to realise, as the lease was being rescinded. But it was not all lost for all.
Some of the “partners” at Midas having stuck bills of a different colours during the 2014 election campaign managed to stay in the game through a new entity named Clear Ocean hotel and resort, emanating from a non-less enigmatic Pelangi Resorts Holding, led by a South-African partner, an interior designer with no track records in neither real-estate development nor hospitality but holding a resident permit. The new project was to host a Sheraton resort of 184 units, including residences.
The previous Midas lease was “transferred” to Clear Ocean hotel and resort, so was the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) licence was also transferred despite the facts that:
– it had expired,
– it was not transferable to a new promoter,
– it was not valid for this much larger project.
When in August 2016 the then minister of land & housing, Mr. Soodhun “deproclaimed” Pomponette as a public beach to allow the buildings to get started, the AKNL platform started fighting for its restitution as a public beach by:
– organising public gatherings and meetings on the premises,
– alerting the local and international press,
– initiating a judicial review at the Supreme court of Mauritius.
From then, the pseudo-promoters erected a textile fencing, preventing free access to the premises. Same was removed in the course one of the several mobilisations held on the spot. Adding insult to injury, end 2017, the promoter erected tin-sheet barriers, which not only were an eye-sore but fuelled the dispute.
At no surprise, the pseudo promoters not only could not manage to lay the first brick and Clear Ocean hotel and resort as Pelangi became candidates for bankruptcy after several unpaid bills, some returned checks and several South-African citizens claiming back the money they invested into Pelangi.
The lease held by Clear Ocean hotel and resort was rescinded in August 2019 but this information was held unpublished by the government until June 2020. Adding insult to injury, the minister of land and Housing announced in parliament cession of the 29th of July 2020, that the beach was not to be returned to the public as the site was still ear-marked for a hotel project. This, while most hotels of Mauritius are about to collapse in the wake of the Covid19 crisis. The barriers were however removed in September 2020.
Coincidence? On that same day, the supreme court ruled that it will be (at last) initiating the trial and last but not least, the main local promoter at Clear Ocean appeared at a district court for issuing a bad check.
Pomponette within a coastal geopark
Pomponette like the entire coastal geopark that the whole south coast of Mauritius could become, would benefit from an innovative approach, starting by a mixed management and administration with a committee consisting of the Beach Authority, the District Council and the involvement of a citizen-driven local entity, “à la façon” of the French Conservatoire du littoral.
Following models from different countries, inline with the pluri-cultural population of Mauritius, the volunteers from the “Conservatoire” would be the ambassadors of the beach and region, enlightening visitors with information about the bio-diversity, the natural equilibrium of sand-dunes and beaches while pleading for the necessity for its tidiness and the adoption of non-disruptive attitudes.
Blue Flag (public) beach
Pomponette would be a model in natural conservation with light eco-friendly infrastructures and activities while providing a relaxing and comfortable setting.
One of the goals is to make Pomponette the first public beach of Mauritius with Blue Flag eco-label. Blue Flag is an initiative of the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE) and its label applies only to beaches, marinas and sustainable boating operators. Its motto is “Pure water, clean coasts, safety and access for all”. Easily-achievable goals for beautiful Pomponette as long as a few people agree to bang their heads together.
From the above core vision and we are proposing a more detailed plan that also take into account the actual trends as well as people’s wishes and opinions. Indeed, since July 2020 we have initiated public consultations, inviting people to share their views of their “ideal Pomponette (public) beach”. Interesting suggestions have been incorporated in our master-plan, which may evolve until the project is initiated.
Looking forward to participate? Here is our short online questionnaire.
Read our master plan for Pomponette (public) beach here.