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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBEAL OPPOSITION SHOWS ITS SOLIDARITY

BEAL OPPOSITION SHOWS ITS SOLIDARITY

Four groups opposed to Beal Aerospace’s plans to develop Great Pond Bay held a press conference Thursday to show their solidarity.
Members of the Great Pond Area Residents Association, Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, the League of Women Voters and the St. Croix Environmental Association called a press conference to dispel perceptions that only environmentalists are against the proposal.
"Our government leaders are misguided that it’s only SEA . . . opposed to Beal," said Robin Freeman, program consultant for SEA.
Beal Aerospace Technologies is proposing to build its world headquarters and rocket assembly plant near Great Pond Bay on the island’s rural southeast shore. In order to do that, however, it needs to acquire 14.5 acres of land owned by the V.I. government.
But the land, home to a youth camp called Camp Arawak, was deeded to the people of the Virgin Islands in 1974 to be turned into a park. In order for Beal to build its facility, which would be the largest single structure in the West Indies, it is proposing the government exchange the Camp Arawak land for two parcels the company owns elsewhere on the island.
After traveling to Texas to speak with Andrew Beal, owner of Beal Aerospace, about relocating the facility to government-owned land near St. Croix’s industrial zone, Gov. Charles Turnbull said he supports the project because Beal said he will pull out if the Great Pond site is taken off the table.
The governor’s position has raised the ire of Terrence "Positive" Nelson, president of the Our Virgin Islands Labor Union.
"We’re faced with a governor who feels he can unilaterally take away land given to the people" at the "behest" of Beal, Nelson said.
He urged people who are dissatisfied with the administration’s "blunder after blunder" participate in a "people’s march" on Sept. 8.
Meanwhile, the League of Women Voters is primarily concerned with the legality of the land exchange agreement, said Jayne Edwards. The League is concerned that if the Camp Arawak property is transferred, it will set a precedent that could dissuade others from deeding land to the government in the future.
Richard Austin and Bob White of the Great Pond Area Residents Association, said the group fears that Beal’s presence at Great Pond would signal the beginning of the industrialization of the area.
Along with having to acquire the Camp Arawak property, Beal must also win approval to have hundreds of acres of land rezoned from waterfront recreational use to industrial use. Austin called such spot zoning dangerous for the entire island.
"There’s no reason for people or businesses to believe their investment is sound," he said. "This whole approach seems to be an effort of putting a round peg into a square hole."
But Jose Garcia, a Mount Washington resident, said he and other people in the east end neighborhood support Beal.
"It’s not everyone that is against Beal in Estate Mount Washington," he said.
The community activist said he went to the press conference representing the residents of Estate Profit, Clifton Hill and Harvey Project who live in the shadow of HOVENSA, Vialco, the Anguilla dump and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
He said the effort to have Beal relocate to the industrial zone means dumping the problem on "poor people."
"I believe it’s time that the eastern people have development in that area," Garcia said. "I don’t think they’re being honest and fair. I don’t think they want Beal on the eastern side of the island."
Although Sen. Adelbert Bryan has attempted to have the Legislature make a decision on the land exchange agreement twice, his colleagues have deferred the issue. It is unclear when the issue will be voted on.

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Four groups opposed to Beal Aerospace’s plans to develop Great Pond Bay held a press conference Thursday to show their solidarity.
Members of the Great Pond Area Residents Association, Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, the League of Women Voters and the St. Croix Environmental Association called a press conference to dispel perceptions that only environmentalists are against the proposal.
"Our government leaders are misguided that it’s only SEA . . . opposed to Beal," said Robin Freeman, program consultant for SEA.
Beal Aerospace Technologies is proposing to build its world headquarters and rocket assembly plant near Great Pond Bay on the island’s rural southeast shore. In order to do that, however, it needs to acquire 14.5 acres of land owned by the V.I. government.
But the land, home to a youth camp called Camp Arawak, was deeded to the people of the Virgin Islands in 1974 to be turned into a park. In order for Beal to build its facility, which would be the largest single structure in the West Indies, it is proposing the government exchange the Camp Arawak land for two parcels the company owns elsewhere on the island.
After traveling to Texas to speak with Andrew Beal, owner of Beal Aerospace, about relocating the facility to government-owned land near St. Croix’s industrial zone, Gov. Charles Turnbull said he supports the project because Beal said he will pull out if the Great Pond site is taken off the table.
The governor’s position has raised the ire of Terrence "Positive" Nelson, president of the Our Virgin Islands Labor Union.
"We’re faced with a governor who feels he can unilaterally take away land given to the people" at the "behest" of Beal, Nelson said.
He urged people who are dissatisfied with the administration’s "blunder after blunder" participate in a "people’s march" on Sept. 8.
Meanwhile, the League of Women Voters is primarily concerned with the legality of the land exchange agreement, said Jayne Edwards. The League is concerned that if the Camp Arawak property is transferred, it will set a precedent that could dissuade others from deeding land to the government in the future.
Richard Austin and Bob White of the Great Pond Area Residents Association, said the group fears that Beal’s presence at Great Pond would signal the beginning of the industrialization of the area.
Along with having to acquire the Camp Arawak property, Beal must also win approval to have hundreds of acres of land rezoned from waterfront recreational use to industrial use. Austin called such spot zoning dangerous for the entire island.
"There’s no reason for people or businesses to believe their investment is sound," he said. "This whole approach seems to be an effort of putting a round peg into a square hole."
But Jose Garcia, a Mount Washington resident, said he and other people in the east end neighborhood support Beal.
"It’s not everyone that is against Beal in Estate Mount Washington," he said.
The community activist said he went to the press conference representing the residents of Estate Profit, Clifton Hill and Harvey Project who live in the shadow of HOVENSA, Vialco, the Anguilla dump and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
He said the effort to have Beal relocate to the industrial zone means dumping the problem on "poor people."
"I believe it’s time that the eastern people have development in that area," Garcia said. "I don’t think they’re being honest and fair. I don’t think they want Beal on the eastern side of the island."
Although Sen. Adelbert Bryan has attempted to have the Legislature make a decision on the land exchange agreement twice, his colleagues have deferred the issue. It is unclear when the issue will be voted on.