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.