More on the Proposed Coral Bay Marina

st. john marina landside view

So yesterday morning we received a 37-page document regarding the proposed Coral Bay marina. I have to admit, what I read what jaw-dropping. The presentation contained information on seven phases including a proposed mega yacht marina, upscale shopping area, boutique resort and more.

I contacted Rick Barksdale, one of the principles of the proposed yacht club, shortly after reviewing the document. I then shared excerpts of the presentation with all of you.

I initially thought the presentation was created for up upcoming meeting at the Legislature Building. I’ve since been told that’s not the case.

When I reached out to Rick, I stated that I thought he misrepresented his intentions for the proposed yacht club in previous conversations with me. I stated that I felt he “pulled the wool over my eyes.” The following is Rick’s initial response to me, of which he granted me permission to share:

“The wool has been pulled over your eyes, but not by me.

Our intentions are for a full service marina and an upland complex. This fact is clearly stated and is free for everyone to see through our permit application.

The document in question is over 2 years old. At that time we had the occasion to connect with funding sources and potential investors who asked us to package our marina project with other potential development opportunities with a minimum of CapEx of $100m.

After heartfelt consideration of the options we decided that while many opportunities exist, a marina that serviced a wide variety of vessels from local sail and power boats, charter boats, transient boats and yachts would best serve St. John.

We’ve streamlined our permitting process with both territorial and federal agencies by minimizing our project and at every turn sought advice from a wide variety of locals and experts.

Don’t be fooled Jenn. This is an attempt to create panic.

They are clearly trying to divert attention from a thoughtful, well planned marina project application opposed by those who seek to limit a better life for St. John families now and in the future.”

I then asked Rick to send me the most current proposal. I also asked him to clarify which of the seven phases mentioned in the 37-page presentation were included in his current plans. The following is his response:

“The entire ‘new proposal’ as you refer to it is available at the library and at the DPNR office here on St. John. But it is not ‘new’ it is the only proposal we’ve ever submitted. Our permit application is hundreds of pages of technical data and drawings and is too big to attach.

As described in our permit application, the St. John Marina project consists of docks for a variety of boat sizes and types, upland parcels including Coco Loba, Voyages, Island Blues and across the street, the Shoreline Inn and vacant land next to it.

You’ve seen the illustrative drawings of what we are proposing in our permit application and they look nothing like what you’ve posted!

The bottom line is our comprehensive permit application is the result of years of painstaking research and coordination with permit authorities. Those that oppose a sustainably managed environment, culture and economy will resort to any means, including misdirection from the facts and creating hysteria.

If you want facts, check out our permit application and/or go to the Facebook page for The Summer’s End Group.”

So at this point, I’m really not sure what to think. We do know that the 37-page document we referred to yesterday was in fact created by the Summer’s End Yacht Club. They stated that it was outdated, but we are not 100 percent convinced of that. We are also not sure who the “they” are that Rick refers to with regard to people who are trying to “divert attention…” We’re going to leave it up to all of you to make your own decision on whether or not this proposed marina is in the best interest of the community.

26 comments for “More on the Proposed Coral Bay Marina

  1. Parker
    August 11, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Personally, I would prefer something in between the Coral Bay of today (rancid trash overflowing out of dumpsters) and Summer End’s vision for tomorrow (rancid people overflowing out of yachts).

    Either way, the debate over development on St John deserves to be had by people with good information on both sides? Journalist or not, there should be some duty to the people who read this blog to provide proper context for the information being shared. Oh, and there is also the issue of posting a private document without permission.

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      August 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Parker, this was not a private document. The fact of the matter is that it was, in fact, created by the developers and, at some point, whether it be today, yesterday or back in 2012 when they say this document was created, they thought this was the right direction for Coral Bay and St. John as a whole.

      • Parker
        August 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

        Just because it was created by “developers” doesn’t mean you have the right to publish it. Respectfully, I would consider some basic research on this subject because, in spite of comments to the contrary, copyright is an issue here. You could be causing yourself unnecessary legal exposure.

        As far as the plan, it’s a joke. And so are the “developers” behind it. Those people freaking out with all the hyperbole about this project causing the end times should take comfort in knowing these guys are not going to be taken seriously by anyone in the regulatory review process and/or the institutional lending world.

        • News of St. John
          News of St. John
          August 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

          Parker, I made Rick aware that I planned to print it, and I have yet to receive any objections. There are no legal issues here at all, as there are no trade secrets, etc. contained in the document. I am well-versed in copyright law.

          • Ric
            October 12, 2014 at 10:50 am

            Being “well-versed” in copyright laws, what are your credentials within that statement? For instance, I’m a professional musician + author with many copyrights.

    • Joan
      August 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Parker you needs to know the facts before you go degrading the people who live in Coral Bay. if you are concerned about the Coral Bay dumpsters, point your concern to the Dept of Public Works they don’t pick up often enough. It’s the same trash issue at all the dumpsters on this island. The rancid smell is caused by decomposition of organic matter in the mangroves.

      Concerning the document, it was shared by someone the info was sent to. There is no copyright on the document.

      • Parker
        August 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

        Joan, I didn’t degrade anyone in Coral Bay. The dumpsters have been a lament of many of us locals for decades and should be relocated away from the shoreline. You may not agree they are rancid, but can’t we agree they belong somewhere better than the front door of the Coral Bay community?

        Over the years I have heard similar claims that the “smell” in Coral Bay is a natural process, however the only other time I have smelled something similar is when they dredged the Enighed Pond of spoils during construction of the (relatively) new barge port. Please tell us more.

    • Katona Mani
      August 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      This proposal of the (over development) development of the Coral Bay Marina is so obviously to the BEST INTEREST of the WEALTHY ELITIST INVADERS and NOT in the best interest of the Coral Bay community or it West Indian Culture. The wealthy elite ALWAYS invade and take over whatever they can profit from and GENTRIFY for their own selfish, self serving elitist desire…as seen throughout history. Their track record speaks for itself. AND as always, they get want they want by throwing their big shot money around, influencing local government with promises of improvement for the sake of “the community” or island economic progress for the increase of tax revenue. AND many of these proposed deals (waving big $$$$$$$$$$ around) are influencing our local government to bite at the bait. AND who knows…maybe some officials who can be swayed are making deals behind closed doors as seen through out the history of the wealthy elitist CORRUPTION re their corruptive, buying their way into our government, influence.

  2. George
    August 11, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Clearly, lots of money has already been “dropped” into this plan.
    If such a plan were accepted, I would like to see some sort of “escrow”, maybe in the $5 million range, for “mistakes”. That’s not a lot of money, considering the $100 million they’re talking about. And, if it’s $100 million they’re saying, you can bet it will be more!
    There has always been this idea that Coral Bay would grow. It was inevitable, but it was always going to prosper, if there was an overall plan in place. From what I see here, that is not the case. It only takes in part of the harbor.
    We need a planner!

  3. Ginger Parker
    August 11, 2014 at 7:38 am

    This was the first rendering I saw, before the monstrous, outsized rendering shown yesterday. My reaction to this image was negative also. It’s too big, angular – takes up too much of the bay, and seriously detracts from the beauty of Coral Bay. In addition, and of even greater importance in my mind, the environmental impact would surely be a negative. I had wondered if the older rendering was initially presented so that the community would be more accepting of a scaled-down version (such as this) which otherwise would have been ill-received.

  4. Donald Cloutier
    August 11, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Being that I am not a resident of the island my opinion is of little value, but I do frequently travel, so I must toss my 2 cents into the pot.
    I believe Coral Bay could benefit from a marina of appropriate size, nothing like the monstrosities currently proposed!!! As far as the shopping areas? The best improvement would be to PROPERLY pave that particular section of road and set up parking in front of the current quaint businesses already established! This would also encourage normal business growth that would benefit the local population of this area!
    A big marina intended largely for those of big pockets is not beneficial to the life style already suited for those who reside in Coral Bay!!

  5. patrick k
    August 11, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Regardless of “their” changing vision for Coral Bay they still mean to destroy the bay by driving 1300+ steel pilings into the seabed floor. Long after they are gone and the marina is old and decrepit the bay will remain destroyed. You cannot drive 1300 steel pilings into a bay, any bay, and state that no damage has been done. There is no coming back from that. Oh sure you can find some paid advisor to say it so but I ask, who are you going to believe, him or your lying eyes?

    The marina they are proposing will, from its first day, be an ecological catastrophe in waiting. But all that aside, the larger issue remains–does the vision of a few supersede the vision of thousands of local residents and tens of thousand repeat vacationers that visit St John, and Coral Bay in particular, because it doesn’t have meg marinas and the associated users. Those kinds of places are a dime a dozen worldwide. Meanwhile there is only one St John.

    • Bill Hoffman
      August 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Kudo’s to Patrick K. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Philip
      August 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Well stated.

  6. Joan
    August 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

    The picture above was provided with the application. It shows very few boats in the marina, no boats on the approx 90 mooring spots, and few cars in the parking lot.
    The picture looks beautiful because the marina is empty. If this is the way it will operate, it will fail quickly.

    I wish I had photoshop to fill in all the slips, all the mooring spots, and all the parking places. Then this pic would look more like the real thing.

    • jimg20
      August 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      The community report is very long and I am only 2/3 of the way through it. It is not at all sympathetic with the applicants or the project. They point out that the application expects a 43% occupancy on the slips and the is not likely to sustain the project. They call for a financial feasibility study be for approval.

  7. karen m
    August 11, 2014 at 9:49 am

    the coral bay community council wrote a thorough response to the application that will be reviewed at the hearing. it is long, but well worth reading as it points out many specific “observations on deficiencies in the application”. i hope it is ok to post it here.

    https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?cid=9F78A94DCD9236CE&resid=9F78A94DCD9236CE!7895&app=WordPdf&authkey=!AML6KoaOvMjo0wg

  8. dean hedges
    August 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    he most distressing thing is the presumption that the marina, any marina, means an improvement in the lives of the people living in the coral bay community. This is a trick, it makes you think that you are being diminished be not having it, that you are missing out on the gold and opportunities of financial windfall. It is not a tactic an honest person would use. The developers are not trying to help st john, or coral bay. they are trying to replace with money what they gave away years ago, and what they are trying to get you to give away. Do NOT BE FOOLED. What coral bay has, is so much more valuable than money. There are lots of other placed these shits can develop. they are fishing in Coral Bay because they know you’re an easier catch. DO NOT SELL OUT. You will loose so much more than you can see from where you are. I am up here, far away in Canada and I have a great view of what will be. IF you do not let this happen, it is a better regret, than if you do. A marina can always be built in the future. remember havensight? Please listen to me. Get your arms in the air and stop this from happening.

  9. David
    August 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

    What is clear is that this whole process is incredibly slippery. Even if that proposal is 2 years old (not exactly ancient history) it is so counter to everything they are saying now that I cannot further trust any of their PR moves.

  10. Dave
    August 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    The one thing that has been overlooked in the discussion is that the scope of this project (shopping centers, restaurants, condos, seemingly over scaled marina)) can not be supported by revenue from fees from local and transient boat and yacht traffic. You can bet your butt that the dreaded CRUISE SHIPS are in their plans for this development. I see no other way to support this thing. The development even has the feel of a cruise ship destination. They may be sweeping this under the rug now but if this thing gets up and running, they will come.

  11. Cindy Fetch
    August 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I fell in love with St John, and particularly Coral Bay, 10 years ago when I stayed at Maho Bay Camps (which, sadly, no longer operates and will most likely be developed.). We’ve been lucky this charm in the BVI has been slow in development. It seems that time is over. Since I’m not a resident, my best effort is voicing my concern and plea for due diligence and forethought by those who are in decision making positions. If there is anyway I can help in protecting what’s left of St J’s beauty, please advise.

  12. Helen
    August 11, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I have seen a couple “big plans” for the island over the years, Sirenusa, Pond Bay and Grande Bay. Only Grande Bay exists today. The other two are failed blights on the landscape. I don’t see a practical way this kind of development will work in Coral Bay. It may start an then end up as something more modest. The actual cost of doing construction business on St John seems to bite everyone. Maybe it will take a chunk out of these plans as well. I think a nice marina is Coral Bay is a good idea. This, not so much.

  13. Ronnie the mechanic
    August 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Sad that my friends are going through this. Coral bay is growing but I see this as a cancer. It will take away the beauty and destroy nature. Only a few will profit and the rest will be locked out. Fight for your community and bay. If this goes through everything will cost even more than it does now.

  14. BeachBum
    August 13, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Cindy (Fetch), the first thing you can do to “help in protecting what’s left of St J’s beauty”, is to know that “this charm” is not part of the BVI like you stated but the USVI

  15. Dana Bartlett
    August 13, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I thought this was worth repeating:

    I’ve dealt with Sam who represents the Moracian church on St. John in their financial matters, so I asked him directly what the church’s intentions are and if they were aware of the scope of Summers End’s plans and this is the letter I received.Good evening Dana,As you’re aware many things are going on with the newly advertised marina proposal from Summers End. There is very little that I can say at this point except for the fact that T Rex and Summers and are not in collaboration. The fact is that T-Rex and Summer’s End are in opposition with their marina proposals. The opposition is in development. T Rex proposes to maintain the Hamlet, tranquility and ambience which Coral Bay is known for.What we need is for the Coral Bay Community to come and support the Moravian Church’s proposal for a marina which includes green space, low impact upland development, a newly constructed basketball court and baseball field.See you at the public hearing on August 20, 2014 at the Legislative Building in Cruz Bay.Sent from Samuel R. Rymer’s iPad

    So if Summers End is fabricating this portion of their plan, using 10 acres of church property for their “exclusive” yacht club what other lies are they making up? And a gated community on an island where they are trying to “help” the people? Really? What are they afraid of?

    My note

  16. CB Denizen
    August 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Almost all the way across the bay, taking over the mooring field that DPNR can’t handle itself, and limiting boat size to 30′?? If I still had a mooring in Coral Bay, I’d be thoroughly bullshit over this, but it looks to me like the “noveau locals” are taking over in style. When’s the golf course going to be built? Should make for a delightful environmental mess, and I’m sure, with the help of certain people, the appropriate skids are well greased for any further DPNR/CZM activity.

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