Many of you have asked me over the past several months what the status of the marina over in Coral Bay is. It must be off the table considering the destruction that occurred over there, many of you commented. Well, back in the fall when the island’s residents were dealing with the hurricanes’ aftermath, the Summer’s End Group was busy trying to get their proposed mega marina approved. Unbelievable, right?
Well thanks to a very tenacious David Silverman, the man who launched the Save Coral Bay campaign back in 2014, their efforts have hit a roadblock. Here is exactly what happened in David’s own words as written on the Save Coral Bay Facebook page:
While we were all fully occupied recovering from Hurricane Irma, the Summer’s End Group was hard at work trying to convince the Army Corps to grant their permit for a mega yacht marina in Coral Bay. Hard to believe but true – and here are the details.
On August 24, 2017, just two weeks before Irma hit, SEG submitted over 400 pages of documents to the Corps, supposedly in response to the extensive list of major deficiencies that the Corps had identified in October 2015. Apparently at some point in 2017 SEG managed to squeeze money out of another unsuspecting “investor” and then hired a new law firm and a new marina design firm, hired several new consultants, and produced a load of new documents for the Corps hoping to expedite their federal permit.
Then Irma hit. And changed everything, or so you would think. Who in their right mind could possibly consider a marina in Coral Bay Harbor considering the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, and then two weeks later of Hurricane Maria?
Well the Summers End Group apparently is not in their right mind because they thought with everyone fully preoccupied with recovery they could move fast and get something through while nobody was watching. But they were, once again, very wrong. Save Coral Bay was watching.
Once I was able to get cell phone service, in early November, I phoned the Corps and found out about the August document submission, and learned that the Corps had responded in October and required more information from SEG. Additional information was sent by SEG to the Army Corps in December 2017, and through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we were able to obtain all of the submissions – the 29 documents and 416 pages from August and an additional 7 documents and 131 pages from December. With virtually no mail delivery, no internet and no phone service this wasn’t an easy task.
David and Susan Silverman (Image taken from David’s Facebook page)
But that wasn’t the end. In January the Corps requested, for a third time, additional information from SEG. And a final batch of documents were submitted by SEG in February and March of 2018 – another 16 documents totaling 490 pages – which we obtained through FOIA in April.
So, needless to say, we have been very busy. Reading over a thousand pages of marina justification and finding countless errors, omissions, inconsistencies and totally unsubstantiated claims has taken many hours of work. We then needed to write our comments to the Corps and point out the critical errors and omissions in this extensive set of documents. All of this has taken some time, but we are now done.
This past Friday, May 4, we sent the Army Corps our comments on the new submissions from the Summers End Group. We identified serious flaws in their alternatives analysis, in their estimates of habitat impact, in their economic analysis, in their compensatory mitigation proposals, and in their rebuttals of federal agency comments. Our federal lawyers assisted in providing commentary on the grounds for permit denial, or, if not outright denial, the requirement for a complete Environmental Impact Statement. We pointed out the total folly in constructing a large marina in Coral Bay, given the recent experience of two category five hurricanes that decimated Coral Bay and Hurricane Hole. We pointed out the fragile state of recovery in our ecosystems, the lack of public infrastructure, and all of the other pertinent lessons learned from Irma. We made a very strong case that the project proposed by SEG is not in the public interest, a conclusion that we believe the Army Corps may be leaning towards themselves.
If you are interested in any of these materials they are all on the Save Coral Bay website. The 2017 and 2018 submissions from SEG, and the Army Corps responses to these, may be found here –
Our comments on these submissions may be found here – http://SaveCoralBay.com/USACE-Apr2018-Comments/
So now you know what the Summers End Group has been up to while we were all recovering from Irma. And now you know that Save Coral Bay has been on top of all of this and not missed a thing. I didn’t want to burden the Coral Bay community with letter writing and concerns over a marina threat while everyone had urgent personal matters to deal with post-hurricane, so with the assistance of a few of our experts and our attorneys we’ve handled all of this and gotten the message to the Corps. Coral Bay is no place for a mega yacht marina!
SAVE CORAL BAY for future generations.
Wow, Just wow.
I would like to publicly thank David Silverman and everyone who has helped with the Save Coral Bay efforts. At this point, I can’t imagine that the Army Corps would approve Summer’s End’s proposal, but only time will tell. We will update you on this as soon as we learn more.