CBCC’s Coldren Hopes CZM Cooperation, Can Save Unpermitted Floating Dock

Community leaders are hoping for a government solution to save the unpermitted, two-section floating dock located offshore of the Moravian Church-owned waterfront parcel behind the Coral Bay Fire Station, above. The docks were was installed without permits after the previous ramshackle structure became a safety hazard. Now Moravian officials have been ordered to remove the dock sections by the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources as part of the permitting process for the marina and boat storage facility proposed for the shoreline site.


CORAL BAY — As summer ends, Sharon Coldren, founding guru of the ad hoc Coral Bay Community Council, was leading a search for a new executive director to front the organization she created to speak for a major segment of the isolated — geographically and politically — and historic St. John community.

Coldren simultaneously was helping the Coral Bay community prepare for the latest foul weather in the form of Tropical Storm Erica as she was preparing for the first major cleanup of derelict vessels in Coral Harbor under a federal grant secured by CBCC after years of planning and effort — ironically the latest tropical storm left several additional vessels stranded on the shoreline of the harbor.

In the meantime, the volunteer spiritual leader of the non-profit activist group she helped establish, nurture and build with grants and donations proclaimed a tentative success in her effort to convince Virgin Islands government officials to delay their order forcing the removal of unpermitted docks in Coral Bay during consideration of plans for a marina and boat storage facility dock on the shoreline behind the Virgin Island Fire Department station. Simultaneously, Coldren crossed her fingers in hopes of a reprieve for the community’s only public — albeit un-permitted and un-insured — dock access for the maritime community.

All the while, Coldren continues to manage the six-figure Save Coral Bay fund collected to underwrite legal opposition to the “other” proposed Coral Bay marina development, the Summer’s End Group “Mega Yacht” marina project — and help coordinate the opposition to that development as well.

Defending Community Dock
“I think DPNR realizes the dock is necessary for boaters and also to protect the environment,” Coldren told St. John Tradewinds, Wednesday, September 2, of efforts to keep the unapproved floating docks in place through any necessary permitting process. “I have some confidence.”

“We are actively pursing the long and difficult permitting process,” Coldren said of the regulatory system which includes an alphabet soup of V.I. and federal agencies from DPNR to NOAA. “They are doing their due diligence.”

“I am assuming that after the meeting (a rumored Sept. 9 planned meeting between DPNR officials and Moravian Church Council leaders concerning the unpermitted docks) Coral Bay boaters will be invited,” Coldren said.

“I feel positive there are positive options DPNR and the church can take,” Copldren continued. “I hope they will work it out.”

“Hi Coral Bay — Dock solved for now,” Coldren wrote hopefully in her August CBCC newsletter for the community-focused non-profit organization dated Friday, Aug 21.

“Thank you to the people who responded to CBCC’s request and wrote 65 excellent letters to the Moravian Church VI Conference asking that the public floating dinghy dock remain and that they allow it to be permitted,” Coldren wrote. “Just today we were finally able to get official assurance from the Church Conference and DPNR that the floating dock and the KATS dock will remain where they are while permitting solutions are being developed.”

“We hope both DPNR and the Conference will involve all stakeholders in this process,” Coldren added.

“I think DPNR realizes the dock is necessary for boaters and also necessary to protect the environment,” Coldren told St. John Tradewinds on Wednesday, September 2.

Search for Director
Coldren, meanwhile, can hope that publicity about the organization’s search for “a full-time Executive Director to provide hands-on management for all aspects of the organization, including fund-raising and communications, as well as working directly on projects,” will help field a candidate to assume much of the responsibilities that have fallen on her through the fledgling years of the organization.

“The Executive Director will also provide leadership, vision and direction,” the job description continues.  “Must be highly-motivated to do good for the community of Coral Bay, have excellent office computer skills, organizational skills, be a self-starter and have financial, fundraising, and management experience. See details at http://www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/

“Help us find the right person  for the job — needs Very Good Office Computer skills!  — and all the other “magic” above…,” Coldren announced. “Planned Deadline is August 24th for applications — please get them in!

CBCC has received a number of promising applications, according to Coldren, who said the application process could be extended for a short period in the aftermath of recent storms.

“Next problem — getting through this hurricane or tropical storm with little damage — see below about these and more… ,” Coldren wrote in the CBCC newsletter.