If the current operators of Caneel Bay get their way, there quite possibly may be hotel rooms built on Honeymoon Beach. Say it isn’t so…
By now, most of you recognize how contentious the current situation at Caneel Bay is. And if you read this blog regularly, you know my opinion on the matter. Caneel looks the same today as it did back in September. Pretty much no cleanup has happened on the property, and it doesn’t look like any is going to happen anytime soon. That in itself is quite frustrating. And as you know, there is a Bill before Congress that calls for its current retained use agreement to be extended 60 years, which is ludicrous in my opinion. We’re not going to get into that today though, as we’ve written about it quite a bit. (Click here and here to read more on the Bill, and what it means for St. John and the Virgin Islands National Park.)
Instead we’re going to talk about Honeymoon, Friends of the Park’s take on the Caneel situation and an important meeting that’s happening tonight. Let’s start with the rooms at Honeymoon…
So apparently CBI Acquisitions, the current operators of Caneel Bay, held a little tour at Caneel Bay last week in which they invited members of the government, community and media to check out the property. And surprisingly enough, our invite got lost in the mail!! Crazy, right??! But fortunately the real news media was invited, and the St. John Source wrote an article on it. And buried deep down in the 11th paragraph, they casually mentioned how Gary Engle, CBI’s principle, may add some rooms over at Honeymoon Beach should the Bill pass. What??
Here is the exact statement as printed in the Source:
Engle did say there is the potential that a few of the resort’s “upland” rooms will be converted to employee housing, and a few more beachfront rooms could be added, potentially at Honeymoon Beach.
I don’t know about all of you, but I like Honeymoon the way it is. And I don’t think that Caneel should be able to develop it. But that’s simply the opinion of this little blogger…
Speaking of the real media, I was also happy to read a recent op-ed piece written by Joe Kessler, president of Friends of the VI National Park. It was printed earlier this month in the Virgin Islands Daily News. In it, Mr. Kessler stated that the proposed Bill is not the only way to get Caneel back up and running, as Congresswoman Stacy Plaskett and the Bill’s supporters want you to think. Here is the op-ed in its entirety:
I agree wholeheartedly with what Mr. Kessler has written. Rather than introducing new legislation that may or may not pass, let’s negotiate a new lease which is what Congress deemed to be the best avenue years ago.
And lastly, the meeting. Senator Brian Smith is holding a community meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in the Legislative Conference Room. One of the topics on the agenda is the proposed Caneel Bay Bill. If you are on St. John and you are interested in learning more about this Bill, I encourage you to attend. Unfortunately the organizers have required anyone who wishes to voice their concerns to register by phone and then send the statement to the organizers prior to the event, which is pretty odd in my opinion. But nevertheless, I am happy that the community is finally getting the opportunity to chime in here. I will be at the meeting, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Phew! That was a lot today! Now please go ahead and enjoy the rest of your Monday. Have a great one everyone!!