There is no relief in sight for the congestion, unchecked development and parking woes plaguing St. John.
Despite a campaign promise to have a St. John city planner on board by the first quarter of his administration, Governor John deJongh dismissed all applicants who responded to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ August advertisement for the position.
While Government House spokesperson John Greaux confirmed that all respondents were turned down, he declined to comment on how many applicants responded to the advertisement and why they were denied.
“Nothing emerged out of the first round,” said Greaux. “There was nothing that jumped out at us. I don’t have a why.”
Eleven months into his administration with no planner in sight, deJongh, however, remains committed to hiring someone for the post, Greaux explained.
“Filling this position was a campaign promise and the governor is committed to hiring that person,” Greaux said. “Probably within 45 to 60 days we should see some movement. We could see a short list go down to a final choice.”
St. John Administrator Leona Smith is looking forward to collaborating with the planner when one is hired.
“As soon as we get that person on board, we can get a better understanding of where we are going and move forward with initiatives,” said Smith. “The Frank Powell Park, the relocation of Julius E. Sprauve School, the parking situation in the Cruz Bay area — all these things need to be dealt with in a timely fashion.”
Beyond just qualifiying for the position, the city planner should know St. John, its needs and its people, Smith added.
“I know the administration is working on this and I hope that they find the right person who has experience, knows the needs of the island and is able to take input from the public,” said the administrator.
“The sooner t he better,” she said.