The north Cruz Bay dinghy Dock.
Both Cruz Bay dinghy docks were repaired last week, thanks to community efforts and a private and public partnership.
The dinghy docks on either side of the Loredon Boynes Sr. ferry dock in Cruz Bay were badly damaged in the fall when tropical storms lashed the island. Gaping holes made the docks difficult and dangerous to use, especially the dinghy dock on the Battery side of the beach.
After several months of delays, St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce St. John representative Kate Norfleet, with the help of St. John Administrator Leona Smith, managed to hammer out an agreement with V.I. Port Authority officials to expedite the process.
Members of the local chamber chapter agreed to pay for the materials and do the work to repair the dock on the Battery side of the ferry dock. VIPA executive director Ken Hobson met with Norfleet, chamber chapter member Dan Boyd and Smith on Friday morning, February 4, in Cruz Bay.
That morning Boyd, who oversaw the repairs, signed a Hold Harmless Agreement and Norfleet sent out an email asking for volunteers the next day. On Saturday morning, February 5, nine volunteers showed up at 10:30 a.m. ready to get to work. By 3:30 p.m. that day, the north dinghy dock was completely repaired.
(Left to Right) The foreman of the project posed with former St. John Liaison for Senator Hill-Bonny Corbeil, Wharfside Village owner Ed McKenzie, VIPA Executive Director Ken Hobson and Senator Louis Hill.
Boyd, Davis Polius, Nelson Uzzell, Al Winter, Jeff Chabot, Jason Oliver, Richard Bates, Jason Beasley and Ian Norfleet did the actually hammering. John Russell, Michael Weinman, BJ Harris, Lisa Durgin, St. John Yacht Club, Starfish Market, Larry’s Landing, Morgan’s Mango, Waterfront Bistro and Paradise Lumber helped out with everything from paying for materials, to supplying sandwiches and water, explained Norfleet.
“We were there from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and got it all done,” said Norfleet. “It looks great and it was a great bunch of guys. Dan did a fabulous job and was so easy to work with.”
“When we left, Jeff Chabot was still there putting in screws,” she said. “He wouldn’t stop; he just wanted everything to be perfect.”
Due to the shallow depth of the dock, the crew decided against putting in cleats, explained Boyd.
“We left a one and a half inch opening every five boards so the dinghies could tie around the three-by-12 beam,” he said. “It will also accommodate a cable to lock the dinghies to the dock.”
“If we used cleats, the dinghies would get damaged from hitting the cleats because the dock is so low,” said Boyd.
Meanwhile, on the south side of the ferry dock, a private and public partnership spearheaded by Senator Louis Hill cobbled the wooden dinghy dock back together.
Hill orchestrated a collaboration with Wharfisde Village owner Ed McKenzie to cover the cost and labor of repairing the dinghy dock on that side of the ferry dock.
McKenzie and Hill met with Hobson and Hill’s former St. John Liaison Bonny Corbeil on Monday morning, February 7, to launch the repairs on the Wharfside side of the dock.
“This is a prime example of what government and the private sector can accomplish when we work together,” Hill said. “I would like to thank both VIPA Director Hobson and Mr. McKenzie for teaming up to make these repairs a reality.”
The workers who repaired the south dock on February 7 vowed it would be “hurricane-proof” and would feature metal cleats.