King-Hinds also asks CPA counsel to look into sewer line issue
Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds strongly objects to Bridge Investment Group’s reported plan to build an 80-room barracks for use in the scheduled opening this September of a live casino training facility on Tinian.
King-Hinds also disclosed at a CPA board committees’ meeting last Wednesday that CPA legal counsel Robert T. Torres is currently looking into the sewer line issue at the dock on Tinian.
BIG is building the Tinian Ocean View Resort & Casino. In March 2019, BIG and Wyndham Hotel Group held a hotel management signing ceremony for the Wyndham Hotel brand to create a Tinian five-star luxury hotel.
King-Hinds pointed out that it’s an EB-5 project and one of the reasons for supporting the project is because of the job opportunities it will provide. Yet if BIG is intending to build a barracks, she sees that as BIG having no intent to hire residents. She said there have been reports that BIG is looking to build an 80-room barracks on Tinian. “That’s a concern to me and I think we should go, or I would personally like to go on record stating strong objection to it,” she said.
King-Hinds said the whole purpose of having a live training facility is that the developer can train local residents to run a casino.
She said she wants it to be put on the record as a matter of discussion so that when people look back in history, they would know that the CPA board took those concern seriously.
CPA board Seaport Facilities Committee chair Pete P. Reyes joined King-Hinds in her objection, saying he also feels that just the mere presence of the barracks for 80 employees is a sign that BIG is not hiring local residents and that he objects to that.
BIG, a real estate developer on Tinian, created the American Northern Marianas Regional Center in order to promote economic growth, improve regional productivity, create U.S. jobs, and secure financing for real estate development projects.
On the sewer line matter, King-Hinds said many members of the community have raised with her their concern as it relates to BIG’s project on Tinian, specifically the sewer system that they have been permitted for. She said CPA legal counsel Robert T. Torres is looking into that issue.
Torres said the sewer line issue at the Tinian dock with respect to the tenant is that they have to have a septic system in place. Torres said CPA is now reviewing BIG’s Coastal Resources Management’s major site permit. Torres said they are assessing the issue of the lease with respect to the facility and the capacity of the septic system and their transfer of the waste. The lawyer said the impact on the waterfront is an area of particular concern.
Torres said that news coming out of BIG is that it is planning to go online with casino operations in September 2020. Part of the lease with BIG, he said, is about compliance with the environmental aspects as well as its operation activities—the hotel, the volume of passengers’ impact on the port and their opening plan.
Torres said they are in the process of reviewing with the Tinian port manager the CRM permit, a copy of which CPA had just obtained.
King-Hinds said that what they are getting is that BIG applied for a permit for just a septic tank. King-Hinds said but what BIG had submitted in terms of their application and what they are actually going out and saying in the community is that by third quarter that they are going to be opening a live casino training facility. She said the planned live casino training facility is very similar with what people saw here at Duty Free on Saipan with Best Sunshine.
“If you’ve been to Tinian, the port is directly adjacent to Jones Beach, which is clearly the heart of the community. That’s where the community has social gatherings, that’s where people go fishing, and it’s commonly used,” King-Hinds said.
She said if there is a sewage seeping into the water to the beach, it would amount to destroying that whole coastline in front of Tinian.
“I want to be on top of that. I want the contractor and the tenant to address that situation, even if they require that we take legal action,” she added.