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HomeNewsArchivesPlanning Department Works to Bring Swimming Back to Cruz Bay Beach

Planning Department Works to Bring Swimming Back to Cruz Bay Beach

Nov. 20, 2007 — After getting rid of long-derelict dinghies and other debris on Cruz Bay Beach during the summer, the Planning and Natural Resources Department is working to make the beach swimmer-friendly.
"We want to create the beach that was there before," said Roberto Tapia, Planning's assistant enforcement director.
For starters, Planning will widen the channel near the ferry dock to make it easier for ferries to turn around. Plans call for increasing the channel width by 25 feet to 65 feet, and new channel for small vessels is in the works near the Cruz Bay cemetery. Swim buoys also will be installed to make the area safe for swimmers.
These changes mean that the handful of beachfront businesses accustomed to pulling their motorized vessels nearly to the shore will have to relocate those vessels to moorings outside the swim area. Those businesses will pick up passengers at the dinghy dock located adjacent to the ferry dock, Tapia said.
The two businesses that rent kayaks and small sailboats will still be able to access the beach through the swim area because those vessels don't have motors, he said.
Tapia said he hass also gotten rid of boats anchored out in the harbor that didn't have mooring permits.
"They were liveaboards and non-liveaboards," he said.
Getting rid of the illegally moored liveaboards will go a long way toward cleaning up Cruz Bay's water, Tapia said. The water currently passes quality standards, but he expects it will get even cleaner.
Anne Marie Estes, who owns the beachfront Low Key Watersports on Cruz Bay, welcomed the change.
"We need to bend a little," she said of beachfront business owners and boaters who opposed the change. She'd prefer to see a more appealing beachfront ambience, because she wants to offer scuba-instruction classes right in front of her shop.
Han Winogrond, who owns the beachfront Sail Safaris, said Planning failed to hold a public meeting to inform residents about its plans. Some people are upset about the changes, but informing them in advance and hearing what they had to say about the plans would have alleviated a lot of the bad feelings, he said.
"It was all a big surprise," Winogrond said. "It's creating a lot of tension, hysteria and nervous energy."
Business owners don't know Planning's grand plan for the waterfront, so they can't make plans for businesses, he said. And he said the number of liveaboards in Cruz Bay has diminished to about 10 because Planning chased them all out.
Winogrond questioned Planning's push to turn Cruz Bay Beach into a swimming area because it is busy. The area gets lots of ferry traffic, taxis park right behind the beach and the road in front of the taxis sees an almost continual stream of vehicles.
"I don't think DPNR has its fingers on the pulse of St. John," he said.
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Nov. 20, 2007 -- After getting rid of long-derelict dinghies and other debris on Cruz Bay Beach during the summer, the Planning and Natural Resources Department is working to make the beach swimmer-friendly.
"We want to create the beach that was there before," said Roberto Tapia, Planning's assistant enforcement director.
For starters, Planning will widen the channel near the ferry dock to make it easier for ferries to turn around. Plans call for increasing the channel width by 25 feet to 65 feet, and new channel for small vessels is in the works near the Cruz Bay cemetery. Swim buoys also will be installed to make the area safe for swimmers.
These changes mean that the handful of beachfront businesses accustomed to pulling their motorized vessels nearly to the shore will have to relocate those vessels to moorings outside the swim area. Those businesses will pick up passengers at the dinghy dock located adjacent to the ferry dock, Tapia said.
The two businesses that rent kayaks and small sailboats will still be able to access the beach through the swim area because those vessels don't have motors, he said.
Tapia said he hass also gotten rid of boats anchored out in the harbor that didn't have mooring permits.
"They were liveaboards and non-liveaboards," he said.
Getting rid of the illegally moored liveaboards will go a long way toward cleaning up Cruz Bay's water, Tapia said. The water currently passes quality standards, but he expects it will get even cleaner.
Anne Marie Estes, who owns the beachfront Low Key Watersports on Cruz Bay, welcomed the change.
"We need to bend a little," she said of beachfront business owners and boaters who opposed the change. She'd prefer to see a more appealing beachfront ambience, because she wants to offer scuba-instruction classes right in front of her shop.
Han Winogrond, who owns the beachfront Sail Safaris, said Planning failed to hold a public meeting to inform residents about its plans. Some people are upset about the changes, but informing them in advance and hearing what they had to say about the plans would have alleviated a lot of the bad feelings, he said.
"It was all a big surprise," Winogrond said. "It's creating a lot of tension, hysteria and nervous energy."
Business owners don't know Planning's grand plan for the waterfront, so they can't make plans for businesses, he said. And he said the number of liveaboards in Cruz Bay has diminished to about 10 because Planning chased them all out.
Winogrond questioned Planning's push to turn Cruz Bay Beach into a swimming area because it is busy. The area gets lots of ferry traffic, taxis park right behind the beach and the road in front of the taxis sees an almost continual stream of vehicles.
"I don't think DPNR has its fingers on the pulse of St. John," he said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.