MNAs get better acquainted with IDC’s Desroches Island


21-March-2012

MNAs in a souvenir photograph with Mr Savy and other IDC staff in front of the “Grann Kaz”

The MNAs arrived at Desroches by IDC plane on a Friday and the next day were joined by a party of journalists, also glad of the opportunity to saw Desroches and developments there.

They were welcomed by Desroches manager, Alain Commetant, who has managed the island for over ten years.
The MNAs and press were joined by IDC chief executive Glenny Savy and his deputy, Ronny Renaud, on a tour of the sawmill and workshop, where casuarina which abound on Desroches and to a lesser extent, takamaka, is processed for construction.

At the workshop, imported timber such as pine, brought in from Mahe, is also prepared for building and maintenance works.

Still activity on Desroches is very much focussed on tourism, as the parliamentarians and press could ascertain.

The 20-room Desroches Island Lodge is owned by a South African company, Collins Property Limited, which has purchased the leasehold for 70 years from the IDC.

Besides, there is considerable villa development. Already some 30 deluxe villas have been built along the coast and found buyers, and when not occupied can be put into the hotel’s rental pool for visitor accommodation.

The MNAs also visited the beautiful “Grann Kaz”, which has just been refurbished by IDC and will soon be turned into a  Creole restaurant and a museum - focussing on the islands’ history.

It this context, it is worth noting that the island was named in the late 18th century in honour of Francois Julien Desroches, administrator of Ile de France (Mauritius).

On English charts it was called “ Wood Island”, because of the extensive native forest.
The visitors also toured the vegetable garden and orchard behind the “Grann Kaz”.

Asked whether the garden contributes to self-sufficiency for the hotel, Mr Savy replied: “Very much so.”

Mr Savy told the MNAs in an open discussion that the villas sell for up to $3.3 million and government benefits from the land sales tax, each time a villa is purchased.

He noted that because of its diverse activities, IDC has since five years not been receiving any subventions from  the government. 

He added that the parastatal has instead been turning out a profit, though it is not paying dividends to the state.

He explained that is because the IDC intends to expand its tourism activities by building airstrips on some other islands, including Providence, Astove and Cosmoledo.

Responding to queries from some MNAs about the possibility of offering vacation facilities to residents, Mr Savy said it is a fact that hotel rates and flight costs are high and unaffordable to most Seychellois.

He said IDC is already building a resident guesthouse on Silhouette with a capacity of 12 persons. It is also envisaged to make Poivre more focussed on domestic tourism with an accommodation capacity of around 50 residents.

The MNAs touring the vegetable garden and orchard

The MNAs were also impressed about how Desroches, which gets its water from desalination plants, processes waste water and re-use it all over again. This avoids throwing waste water into the environment to affect the water table.

Most MNAs were impressed by what they saw on Desroches and have gone away with a more balanced perception of what the island, and indeed the IDC, is all about.

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