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HomeNewsArchivesEAST WANTS MORE INFORMATION ON BOTANY BAY

EAST WANTS MORE INFORMATION ON BOTANY BAY

Oct. 23, 2001 – The Environmental Association of St. Thomas-St. John brought about 25 of its members together Tuesday evening to go over concerns about the resort and timeshare development proposed for Botany Bay.
Carla Joseph, the president of EAST, said the group's position is not that it necessarily opposes development along the bay at the far western tip of St. Thomas. But, she said, it is concerned that the development plans are moving forward without the information needed to make good decisions — and that government officials seem to be bending over backwards to accommodate the developers.
"The EAST opposition is based on lack of information," said Dayle Barry, chair of the group's Issues Committee. "We don't know if that land is suitable for this type of development."
Botany Bay Partners is proposing to develop an upscale 100-room resort along with dozens of condominium units, timeshare units and 40 residential properties. By law, the $169 million project must go through rezoning and an approval process before it can become a reality.
Preservation advocates have raised concerns about what will happen to archeological features of the land, including pre-Columbian remains and the only petroglyphs on St. Thomas. They also have reservations about the potential environmental on what has been called the last large undeveloped area on the island.
At the meeting, several noted that Botany Bay has been designated an "area of particular concern" for its pristine environment, and that a government study has recommended that it become "the cornerstone of a territorial park system."
As a resort, the property would pump tens of millions of dollars into the community, the developers have stated. Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, has cited the anticipated fiscal benefits of the proposal as an indicator of the territory' s economic recovery.
About 25 people attended the EAST meeting, which included a slide show of the scenic shoreline and undeveloped hillsides and a timeline of events as the Botany Bay project has unfolded.
Public hearings on the project have been postponed at least twice in recent months as the developers asked for time to compile reports on the potential impacts. The hearings have not yet been rescheduled.
The EAST members said they have been trying to meet with representatives of Botany Bay Partners to discuss their concerns.
Benita Martin-Samuel, a Bordeaux resident and a member of the We Grow Food agricultural cooperative, said many area residents believe the development will go through but want to see certain conditions imposed.
She said she would like to see public access to the historical resources of the area and that farmers in the area have been promised access to water from a new desalination plant that would be part of the development. She also said she believes most West End residents do not want to see the area become a commercial zone.

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Oct. 23, 2001 - The Environmental Association of St. Thomas-St. John brought about 25 of its members together Tuesday evening to go over concerns about the resort and timeshare development proposed for Botany Bay.
Carla Joseph, the president of EAST, said the group's position is not that it necessarily opposes development along the bay at the far western tip of St. Thomas. But, she said, it is concerned that the development plans are moving forward without the information needed to make good decisions -- and that government officials seem to be bending over backwards to accommodate the developers.
"The EAST opposition is based on lack of information," said Dayle Barry, chair of the group's Issues Committee. "We don't know if that land is suitable for this type of development."
Botany Bay Partners is proposing to develop an upscale 100-room resort along with dozens of condominium units, timeshare units and 40 residential properties. By law, the $169 million project must go through rezoning and an approval process before it can become a reality.
Preservation advocates have raised concerns about what will happen to archeological features of the land, including pre-Columbian remains and the only petroglyphs on St. Thomas. They also have reservations about the potential environmental on what has been called the last large undeveloped area on the island.
At the meeting, several noted that Botany Bay has been designated an "area of particular concern" for its pristine environment, and that a government study has recommended that it become "the cornerstone of a territorial park system."
As a resort, the property would pump tens of millions of dollars into the community, the developers have stated. Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, has cited the anticipated fiscal benefits of the proposal as an indicator of the territory' s economic recovery.
About 25 people attended the EAST meeting, which included a slide show of the scenic shoreline and undeveloped hillsides and a timeline of events as the Botany Bay project has unfolded.
Public hearings on the project have been postponed at least twice in recent months as the developers asked for time to compile reports on the potential impacts. The hearings have not yet been rescheduled.
The EAST members said they have been trying to meet with representatives of Botany Bay Partners to discuss their concerns.
Benita Martin-Samuel, a Bordeaux resident and a member of the We Grow Food agricultural cooperative, said many area residents believe the development will go through but want to see certain conditions imposed.
She said she would like to see public access to the historical resources of the area and that farmers in the area have been promised access to water from a new desalination plant that would be part of the development. She also said she believes most West End residents do not want to see the area become a commercial zone.