West End road woes rife with net-rhetoric
BY JEFF STRATTON
Tellingly, the fight over whether to pave the West End beachfront road is being partially waged on the interwebs — primarily by the outspoken gringo population.
Since they constitute a significant (and tax-paying) portion of the town’s residents and business owners, and generally feel they are condescended to during meetings, the net is the new way the town can come together.
First came the launch of a Facebook page, No West End Road, which outlines its position fairly straightforwardly.
Over on the Living_in_Roatán chat group on Yahoo!, an unusual level of simmering resentment and frustration had some parties typing less-than-civilly at each other for a while.
While it’s mostly choir-preaching, a little friction arises when a devout anti-roadster chafes against someone in the “it’s happening no matter what we do” camp.
Meanwhile, reports from the meetings repeatedly reference foreign land- and business-owners being told to stay quiet because they “aren’t from here.”
Despite that lingering bitterness, the town and local government will somehow have to work together to complete the project professionally.
For an indicator of how far apart people are on this issue, look at the way they’ve been interpreting the data:
The estimate from the municipal is that about 85 percent of West End wants the road and that 15 percent do not.
West End resident Caroline Power, who’s active on the Facebook page, says “I’ve been browsing the posts on this site and the chat groups and there are very few people who are for the road, at least who have voiced their opinions. It seems to be at least 10 to 1 for not paving the road.”
Aaron Etches at Sundowner’s estimates the split at “30/70 in favor of the road.”
At Jimmy’s Tours, the proprietor heard it was an “87/13 split,” with 87 percent wanting the road built.
If you look at the Facebook page — and talk to the tourists walking the road — there isn’t much disagreement. They’re against paving the road, plain and simple: