Coral Bay Unites & Gains Overwhelming Support to Fight Marina

coral bay heart
Image credit: Pam Lach

We’ve written quite a bit about the proposed Coral Bay marina lately. And as you may know, the Coastal Zone Management committee approved permits for it on October 1. Well there’s part of this story that we’ve yet to write about … until now.

What’s been happening in Coral Bay lately and, at the risk of sounding a tad dramatic, across parts of the world, is simply amazing.

As you all know, Coral Bay is a bit sleepier than Cruz Bay, has less residents and less visitors, but you’d never know that based on what it has accomplished over the past few weeks.

The overwhelming majority of people living in Coral Bay oppose the marina. And based on what I have read on this site, Facebook, Twitter and other internet sites, the majority of visitors also oppose the proposed marina. So Coral Bay did what it does best – it united as a community and has vowed to fight this marina from potentially altering what makes Coral Bay special forever. It has gained the support of thousands of residents and visitors who live across the world. It publicized its cause on social media. It even created bumper stickers to publicize the cause. And quite frankly, the response has been overwhelming.

For starters, check out this video:

But that’s not what prompted me to write about this today. Instead it was a GoFundMe campaign that was set up over the weekend to fund what may be a long legal battle. By midday Saturday, the Coral Bay Community Council raised $1,000 which will be used to defeat this marina in the coming regulatory reviews. By 9 p.m. Saturday night, they were just under $5,000. By Sunday night, this small grassroots campaign had raised more than $8,300. That, in my opinion, is absolutely incredible.

Here’s what the Coral Bay Community Council had to say about its campaign:

Coral Bay Harbor is a unique body of water on the undeveloped, eastern part of St John, US Virgin Islands. Its lush sea grass meadows are habitat for endangered sea turtles, its fringing mangroves are a shark nursery, and on its shores are historic structures dating back hundreds of years.

Today Coral Bay Harbor is under attack from outside investors who only see it as a destination for mega yachts and luxury stores. They want to take over the harbor, destroy its natural habitat, and replace all of that natural beauty with a massive, over-built, environmental disaster of a marina. Our campaign’s mission is to protect and rehabilitate the environment of Coral Bay for future generations.

Our immediate need is for funds to pursue legal appeals in order to fight the permits that were given to the developers from local authorities in the Virgin Islands. Lacking proper environmental considerations and with other flaws, these permits now need to be appealed. We will also be fighting our defense campaign at the federal level, since this project will need to be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA, NOAA, and NFWS. All of this takes money, which we don’t yet have. Once we have defeated the immediate threat, our next task is to plan the small sustainable improvements to Coral Bay that will ensure its health for future generations.

Every dollar of your contribution received by us will go to the fight to preserve, protect, and enhance Coral Bay.

Funds for these purposes will be managed by the Coral Bay Community Council, a trusted local nonprofit organization.

None of us know how all of this will pan out. But if you’re like me, you’ll feel good knowing that the people of Coral Bay and the people who love Coral Bay, did everything they could to stop this marina from altering Coral Bay forever. Let’s hope they succeed.

For those of you interested in donating to the Save Coral Bay GoFundMe campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/coralbay

23 thoughts on “Coral Bay Unites & Gains Overwhelming Support to Fight Marina”

  1. Approaching $9,000 as of this morning! How cool is that? The heart of Coral Bay speaks! And through its collective wallets, which says so much about this community’s commitment and passion. For those of limited resources, even a $5 contribution is welcome and appreciated. Save Coral Bay!

    • Ginger, I am addressing this to you as you seem to be the keeper of the money and perhaps a member of the team to Save Coral Bay? I am only a frequent visitor but also love Coral Bay. You are fighting big corporate money and although we need to be excited about 9,000.00, it’s pennies in a fight like this could be. Perhaps someone from the team could contact other environmental groups such as The Sierra Club, Worldwide Fund, and there have to be maritime environmental groups. Exposure is great but you need big guns to fight this kind of development. I believe the Governor is backing this, so really I think people need to fight this on a much larger scale. Perhaps even taking it to Federal Court? I would love to be proven wrong!

  2. Will make a donation. Is it tax deductible? How can I get some Save Coral Bay stickers? Does that money go to Save Coral Bay??? If someone can get me some stickers I’ll be happy to pay for shipping & a little extra for your time!

    • Hi Linda,

      I’m looking to see how to get stickers to off-island people … I’llpost it as soon as I have the info. As far as the donation, yes it is tax-deductible because the Coral Bay Community Council is a 501C3.

      • I’ve just made a very worthwhile donation as well as shared all the info with my Facebook friends. Like Linda I too would like to know how to get some stickers for myself as well as share with everyone I know to bring this extremely important fight to the forefront.

      • Wonderfully written story ! I wanted to let you know that we are expanding the #SaveCoralBay bumper sticker campaign and have a url and Facebook page. 100% of net proceeds from the sales are going directly to the GoFundMe Coral Bay Fund. I’ll be making another video as we collect growing numbers of pictures of the bumper stickers from all over the world !


  3. Thanks Jenn–I think mine just took it over $10K. I know you will keep us up to date on events and if funds are not sufficient to keep the fight going.


    I truly believe coral bay is one of a few places accessible to me, and many other people that captures a sense of place that warms the heart and evokes the senses! I travel from the northeast anytime I find a good deal on a flight (surprisingly often) and it’s a place that holds a special place in my life. I think that I’m not alone. Coral bay is a gift to the true romantic, the lover of life! Please please do not destroy this amazing place and fragile eco system with another “marina”. There are plenty of places for that type to go and enjoy that level of luxury. Don’t do it to beautiful coral bay!!!

  5. Curious. I remember a few years back the howls over a proposed condo development in Cruz Bay. Now they’re promoted on the same page as the current travesty.

  6. As a part-time resident and property owner in the area, I don’t understand all of the hysteria over this marina development. With careful design and construction that is sensitive to nature, we can have the marina and the environment that we all enjoy. If we are to preserve everything, we will have no development, no tax base and no roads. The “not-in-my-backyard” mentality has to stop and we need to have constructive dialog about smart development. I vote for the marina. We need some new life, visitors and enhanced tax base. There was a time when there was the same level of hysteria over condo developments in Cruz Bay. Thank God that those condos were built. They have improved life on the island considerably.

    • Ed–I don’t think the issue is no development. I think the scale of the proposed development has everyone on edge. But, I believe a nice marina in Coral Bay would be a good thing, but not this.

    • I’ve found that no matter what beautiful place you visit – the Keys, Vancouver Island, Costa Rica … all the residents hate developers of every stripe … except the one who developed their property. It’s not NIMBY so much as GOTMINE.

      Of course they are absolutely right, that new development will destroy the natural beauty, tranquility and ecosystem that exists now, just as their development did to what existed prior to that. When I look at a map of St. John and boundaries of the National Park I wonder how so many villas got built on supposedly pristine Park land. Then I read about the dying coral reefs from the runoff from all that development… aren’t those currently protecting Coral Bay already part of degrading it? I’m one of those landowners so wouldn’t it be hypocritical of me to donate? .

      The places I’ve been that do get developed in comparatively low density low impact ways seem to involve a private holder of a very large tract who controls the entire development process… think Kiawah Island or Seaside or Hilton Head. Such development makes it a desirable place to live/visit and that desirability drives up the prices and they become enclaves for the rich and famous. Kind of ironic that big money is the best saver of nice places but also makes them unavailable to Joe Sixpack.

      Which leaves me conflicted and confused about the various motivations of the Coral Bay protectors. Gotminers? True environmentalists? Financial?

  7. It is the same old crap with the folks in coral bay they never want anything to change
    The CBCC has done NOTHING to bring back the gas station it lost how many years ago nobody wants to go to coral bay with no amendities where it’s the supermarket that everybody wanted. Not there and what about losing the school where was the big fight to save that and now it is closed you are picking the wrong battles to fight coral bay people this will bring the jobs and tax base you need to move into the 21st century if the marina is built the other business will feed off of it as the anchor location
    The bottom line is nobody in coral bay wants it to change so this will just leave as history has shown and continue down a path of self destruction
    RIP Coral Bay

  8. I have just donated. The scope of this development project goes far beyond a reasonable scale for Coral Bay. As it stands, it’s a rape of Coral Bay. When making changes in the name of advancement it must be made in a way sensitive to culture, history and environment. The community voice must carry weight in these decisions.

  9. Since when does the greedy desires of a few out weigh the will of the majority?
    What exactly, or who, gives anyone the right to PRIVATISE Coral Bay?
    This is against the will of the people of Coral Bay, and truly not right to endanger the natural breeding ground of the Black Tip Shark. And the mangroves, you know, will be destroyed. All the natural beauty disturbed or destroyed.
    What are these people thinking?
    When did it become acceptable to line the pockets of a few greedy people, and to allow the destruction of a historically safe haven for all boaters. Not just the 1% and their mega yaughts.

    • It has almost hit $25 Grand…as of Wed. night.
      Simply put a” Wrong size/ Wrong place” Mega Yacht Marina with “upscale” designer items; with no decent infrastructure in place…done by sketchy at best “Investors and Planners” with no experience; or Community input equals risky business. This WILL in fact kill the present Villa Rental business. BAD idea in my opinion. We are “killing the golden goose” (Mother Nature…that lays the golden eggs for our VI’s Destroy her and we have lost. Period. Too mu h shoddy development has been going on in our VI’s for TOO long. ENOUGH. St. John needs a Marina…NOT this; and not on this side of the Island. “Luscious Licks” Bonny.

  10. All this BS about “not in my back yard” is about as correct as the ill informed complaints about the Domino Gas Station closing. Take a look around, Domino closed island wide on St. Thomas taking the Coral Bay franchise with it. The public sentiment in the Coral Bay community is for a marina and marine services in Coral Bay. The current proposal by SEG is just so wrong headed. Wrong Location: on the storm exposed southeast shore of Coral Harbor. Wrong Size: Exhausting the majority of the available bay area and eliminating the existing mooring field in a project that is larger than underutilized Crown Bay Marina and Yacht Haven Grand Marina on St. Thomas. Wrong Developer: An off shore funded team wanting to build a project that will drive 1300+ iron pilings into the bay, taking more than a year of continuous pile driving, killing the successful weekly rental villa market that is the world wide known brand of St. John eco tourism. Coral Bay Community Council has made headway in resolving the shoreland erosion problems which has been spoiling Coral Bay since local landowners subdivided huge tracts of upland real estate into the neighborhoods that boomed until the market busted. Those subdivisions left many unpaved roads and ill conceived construction projects spilling sediment where the ineffectual DPNR was never fulfilling their responsibility to oversee and responsibly permit and inspect projects. This is just the most egregious failure of the territorial regulatory agency backed by current politicians.

  11. My wife and I have been vacationing in Coral Bay for several years, and while I can see both sides of the issue when it comes to having some development to boost the economy, I don’t believe that development of this magnitude makes any sense, compounded by the blatant disregard for the ideas of those that call Coral Bay home. I support the fight against the current marina plan, and rest assured that my wife and I will find another place with quaint and peaceful villas for future vacations if this plan for a marina ever develops in Coral Bay. We will have these years of fond memories in Coral Bay to hold onto.

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