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St Catherine’s Estate…A ‘wow’ experience

Visitors are attracted to the pond on the estate. Photo from St Catherine’s Facebook page

By Lara Pickford-Gordon

Describing the space that is St Catherine’s Estate could scarcely do justice to the experience of this picturesque setting. Located on the North Oropouche Road, Valencia, upgrades have been done to attract more visitors.

Joanne Rodriguez, project officer, at the Chancery said persons seeking to rent the house asked for a description but when they saw first-hand, they were in awe and said “wow!”.

“The pond, house, gazebos, savannah, everything packed into one,” she said. The 11-acre estate, she continued, allows persons of different ages to “find their own little way of playing, adapting, enjoying.”

The main building on the property has five bedrooms with one en-suite room and separate shower and toilet on the first floor. The rooms have air-conditioning and can accommodate a total of 25 however, persons can bring their inflatable mattresses.

Rodriguez said there is a “cap” of 60–70 guests because the estate’s water source is rainwater and tanks filled by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). The limit on guests was set to enable “comfortable” water usage.

A request has been made to WASA for a water main to be installed for pipe-borne supply. There is another toilet and shower at the back of the kitchen which has to be accessed from the outside and a separate building with set-aside toilets for ladies and gents.

Security cameras have been installed and soon fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. A portable internet box has been ordered. The house has a living room and kitchen.

Ramp access to the house is available for persons in wheelchairs or for whom stairs are a challenge. On the ground floor are rooms which can be used for seminars. The top floor has a room dedicated for prayer. Barbequing can be done on the gas barbeque pit.

In March, a new road was built which made accessing St Catherine’s easier and the estate has benefitted from regular visitors for the Lenten season. This has happened through “word of mouth” and Rodriguez hopes there can be regular bookings for the rest of the year.

Plans for agriculture

While the focus has been on optimal utilisation of the house, small-scale farming of seasonal crops will be started to earn “some extra income for the property,” Rodriguez said.

There is one acre of land with irrigation already in place. St Catherine’s currently has lime, orange, mango and sour lemon trees. In the meantime, she said, “I think it [the estate] can break-even on maintenance and operational costs; we have to push hard to bring a huge income.”

Caretaker Kelvin Wickham described St Catherine’s as “a beautiful setting with enough land for vegetable crops”. He envisions produce from the land earning money for the estate and also supplying food for children’s and senior citizens’ homes.

The rates for the estate are $1500/night for groups, and the rates for the week can be negotiated; the daily rate is $25/person with a set minimum booking of ten persons.

For more information, contact Richard Griffith 475-7376