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HomeNewsArchivesBOTANY BAY DEVELOPERS BACK OFF ON DOCK PLANS

BOTANY BAY DEVELOPERS BACK OFF ON DOCK PLANS

Dec. 4, 2001 – The developers of the Botany Bay resort project have decided to set aside plans for a controversial dock they had proposed to build in the area of Mermaid's Chair at the far western tip of St. Thomas.
Alain Longatte, chief operating officer of Botany Bay Partners, said Tuesday that after hearing the many concerns voiced about the proposed dock at a public hearing last month, the developers have decided to take those particular plans off the table for now.
"We want to be responsible, so we're going to take a second look at it," Longatte said. "A lot of people are questioning the location of it."
The decision to put the dock plans on hold comes two days before a Senate hearing is scheduled to discuss the Botany Bay Partners' request for a zoning change at Botany Bay that would allow the resort project to move forward.
Botany Bay Partners has proposed building a luxury resort complex on the pristine site — a 125-room hotel, 80 time-share units, 55 condominium units and about 40 residential lots. The developers and some administration officials have said the $165 million project would be a boon to the territory's tourism industry and is a sign of a recovering economy.
The project has come under heavy criticism from environmental and other watchdog groups that have raised concerns about the proposed resort's impact on the environment and social fabric of the West End of St. Thomas. They have cited a potential negative impact on the area's thriving coral reefs, on turtles that nest on its empty beaches and on vegetation that has been largely untouched for generations.
Concerns also have been raised about the fate of several archeological and historic resources on the property, including pre-Columbian Amerindian sites and structures from a sugar plantation.
The developers have said they would build in an environmentally sensitive manner and that the cultural resources would be preserved as educational sites. They also have said the development would open up public access to Botany Bay, which has been gated for years, and that they would pay for infrastructure improvements on the West End.
Helen Gjessing, chair of the League of Women Voters' Planning and Environmental Quality Committee, said she was pleased that the dock plans have been tabled. "I was happy to hear it," she said, "but I really wasn't surprised." She added that the area proposed for the dock often experiences extremely rough seas. She said the developers appeared to be offering the dock as a carrot to West End residents for use in emergency situations, but that the concerns raised about the location made it unfeasible.
The League of Women Voters has serious concerns about other aspects of the Botany Bay development plans, and Gjessing said she expected those concerns to be voiced loud and clear at the Senate hearing, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Legislature Building on St. Thomas.

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Dec. 4, 2001 - The developers of the Botany Bay resort project have decided to set aside plans for a controversial dock they had proposed to build in the area of Mermaid's Chair at the far western tip of St. Thomas.
Alain Longatte, chief operating officer of Botany Bay Partners, said Tuesday that after hearing the many concerns voiced about the proposed dock at a public hearing last month, the developers have decided to take those particular plans off the table for now.
"We want to be responsible, so we're going to take a second look at it," Longatte said. "A lot of people are questioning the location of it."
The decision to put the dock plans on hold comes two days before a Senate hearing is scheduled to discuss the Botany Bay Partners' request for a zoning change at Botany Bay that would allow the resort project to move forward.
Botany Bay Partners has proposed building a luxury resort complex on the pristine site -- a 125-room hotel, 80 time-share units, 55 condominium units and about 40 residential lots. The developers and some administration officials have said the $165 million project would be a boon to the territory's tourism industry and is a sign of a recovering economy.
The project has come under heavy criticism from environmental and other watchdog groups that have raised concerns about the proposed resort's impact on the environment and social fabric of the West End of St. Thomas. They have cited a potential negative impact on the area's thriving coral reefs, on turtles that nest on its empty beaches and on vegetation that has been largely untouched for generations.
Concerns also have been raised about the fate of several archeological and historic resources on the property, including pre-Columbian Amerindian sites and structures from a sugar plantation.
The developers have said they would build in an environmentally sensitive manner and that the cultural resources would be preserved as educational sites. They also have said the development would open up public access to Botany Bay, which has been gated for years, and that they would pay for infrastructure improvements on the West End.
Helen Gjessing, chair of the League of Women Voters' Planning and Environmental Quality Committee, said she was pleased that the dock plans have been tabled. "I was happy to hear it," she said, "but I really wasn't surprised." She added that the area proposed for the dock often experiences extremely rough seas. She said the developers appeared to be offering the dock as a carrot to West End residents for use in emergency situations, but that the concerns raised about the location made it unfeasible.
The League of Women Voters has serious concerns about other aspects of the Botany Bay development plans, and Gjessing said she expected those concerns to be voiced loud and clear at the Senate hearing, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Legislature Building on St. Thomas.