‘Marpi development needs careful planning’
Though he is supportive of developing the northern part of Saipan, Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) said careful planning should be done in order not to ruin the unspoiled beauty of tourist spots in the Marpi area.
Guerrero, the House Commerce and Tourism Committee chair, told Saipan Tribune that developing northern Saipan would surely bring improvement on the lives of the people in the villages in the area.
“It will improve the northern side and gives them the opportunity to develop itself. But as much as we want development to coexist, we have to plan modestly on how to develop the northern side,” said Guerrero.
“We don’t want to overwhelm it because, No. 1, we have the tourist sites in the Marpi area. We have to be very conservative and protect that area. We want to keep those tourists area intact.”
The Last Command Post, Banzai and Suicide cliffs, Bird Island Lookout, Grotto dive site, and Kalabera Cave are some of the tourist destinations up north aside from the steep hills that local bikers love to challenge.
Guerrero said that infrastructure is the next thing that needs to be considered. “As much as we want development up there, infrastructure must be considered. If you have other or additional major development power and sewer will be overwhelmed dramatically.”
“[The Commonwealth Utilities Corp.] would not be capable to sustain additional output of power and waste. We don’t know the exact size that’s in place a number of years ago, so those need to be upgraded,” added the precinct 1 lawmaker.
American Sinopan is building its Saipan Garden Resort in Tanapag, which they dubbed as the “gateway to the north,” while New Century Hotel LLC is going to convert the former Sebastian Building to a 48-room hotel and Bridge Capital LLC is redeveloping the old Plumeria Resort.
Aqua Resort Club, Kensington Hotel, and Mariana Resort & Spa are the hotels operating in the north.
E-Land, which owns and operates Kensington aside from Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort and Pacific Islands Club Saipan, unveiled a bold plan of renovating the abandoned La Fiesta Mall nearly two years ago.
Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is also looking to take over Mariana Resort’s facilities and hopes to build a water-theme park up north.