CBCC Board Members Talk to Governor Turnbull About Land Use Issue

A local Coral Bay community group took advantage of having the top brass in the Virgin Islands in town last week.
Coral Bay Community Council board members met with V.I. Gov. Charles Turnbull, who was in Coral Bay at the V.I. Police Department’s substation ground-breaking ceremony.

After the ceremony, Turnbull heard about specific land use issues from CBCC president Sharon Coldren, vice president Barbara Dalmida-Thompson and board member Bonny Corbeil.

“It was a spur of the moment, last minute meeting that lasted about 20 minutes,” Coldren said about the meeting. “We discussed the job description of the new planner for St. John and how important it is that the community have input in this job description.”

“We will be pursuing that so the public has input,” Coldren continued.

Estate Carolina Parcel Discussed
The CBCC members also took the opportunity to discuss the controversial proposed transfer of a five-acre parcel in Estate Carolina from the Department of Housing Parks and Recreation to the Department of Public Works. DPW officials propose to use the land to house equipment and buses.

“We also talked about the five acres and the need to research an equitable agreement that the community is happy with,” said Coldren. “The community should continue to be involved in what the use should be for the five acres.”
Other topics covered at the short meeting included renovation plans for the East End School House and a Community Develop-ment Block Grant currently earmarked for a new cafetorium and community center at Guy Benjamin School.

At Work on CDBG
The grant has been held up due to inaction on the part of the Department of Education, who must sign off on the funds, according to GBS Parent Teacher Organization officials.

“We asked the governor to push to get the Community Development Block Grant started again and he indicated that his office was already doing that, so we were encouraged by that,” Coldren said.

Although Government House is not directly involved with V.I. Port Authority-owned land in Coral Bay, Coldren asked Turnbull if he could ensure nothing is done on the land until a planner is hired, she explained.

Port Authority Land
“The last thing we talked about was the Port Authority land here in Coral Bay,” said Coldren. “He (Turnbull) said he isn’t directly involved. We asked that the land not be used for anything other than the new police station until we can get our planner and talk about the community uses that land can be put to.”

The VIPA-owned land, adjacent to the future site of the VIPD Coral Bay substation, is currently used for public parking.

“The current use of public parking is very needed and serves everything in this area,” said Coldren.
Residents have “heard more than rumors” about the land being leased to a marina which might be constructed in the area, Coldren explained.

“We asked that the land not be leased to the new marina without the consideration of the community,” she said.
All three CBCC members were delighted to have the chance to speak to the V.I. Governor directly.

“I was truly happy that the governor took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us to discuss these important issues and that he gave us his word that community involvement will definitely be part of the solutions,” said Dalmida-Thompson.

“I felt optimistic that here was a team of people talking about what was best for St. John and specifically Coral Bay,” said Corbeil. “It just felt like there was a team approach to problem solving and that makes me feel optimistic.”

Special Thanks to VIPD
“We were delighted that the governor had come to Coral Bay for the ground-breaking and very glad that he was willing to spend time with us,” said Coldren. “He can make a difference in the last couple of months of his tenure. We also thank him and the legislature very much for the police station.”

“A special thanks to the police department for the community policing they have been working hard to bring to Coral Bay and we hope they can provide training to a lot more officers,” Coldren said.