Protecting Environment Is Top of Coral Bay Residents’ Vision for Future


This figure shows what people like most about Coral Bay.

Every single full time Coral Bay resident who answered a Coral Bay Community Council Community Visioning Survey agreed that environmental protections to avoid future development damage are needed, according to the results which were recently released by CBCC officials.

Most residents also agreed on several core issues like the need for a gas station and the need to relocate the main dumpsters, according to the recent survey which was answered by a total of 217 people.

CBCC’s recent 12 question survey was sent out to hundreds of part time and full time Coral Bay residents in May as the non-profit community group geared up for a planning workshop hosted by the American Institute of Architects.

A team of experts, coordinated by AIA, in fields ranging from tourism to urban planning, conducted an intensive three-day workshop in Coral Bay in late May and used the survey results to get a feel for the wants and needs of the community.

The experts presented their initial findings and recommendations to the Coral Bay community at a late May meeting.

Next week, CBCC officials are hosting a meeting to discuss the results of the community vision survey as well as the recommendations made by the AIA experts.

What was most surprising about the survey results was the amount of consensus, explained CBCC President Sharon Coldren.

“In general, the big wow was how many people agree on what they want to see in Coral Bay,” said Coldren. “Although we recognize that we are very different in many ways, our basic values are very much the same.”
Protecting the environment was one of those values which had overwhelming support from survey respondents, Coldren explained.

“The other wow for me was that every single person who identified themselves as a year-round resident agreed in their personal statement that environmental protection is needed,” she said. “All 100 percent agreed that environmental protection for all future development is needed.”

While such across the board agreement is rare in community surveys, Coldren was not surprised with the findings, she added.

“Everyone who lives in Coral Bay really agrees on the core things,” she said. “It’s not so surprising since if you choose to live in Coral Bay, whether you were born there and stayed or moved there, it’s because you value the things that Coral Bay has which is its quiet, remote setting and so forth.”

“People here have less of a concern about having things that an urban area has,” said Coldren. “If you wanted to have those things, you would choose to live in an urban area. For the most part, I’m not surprised that there is majority agreement but that we have such strong consensus is impressive.”

While the AIA experts have not yet submitted their final report and recommendations to CBCC — which Coldren expects to receive in October or November — the group hopes to engage the community to work towards the mutually agreed upon vision for the future.

CBCC is hosting a community meeting on Monday, July  29, at 6 p.m. in room six at Guy Benjamin School to discuss “next steps,” Coldren explained.

“We don’t have the final results, but we didn’t want to wait that long to have the community sit down and discuss the future,” said the CBCC president. “We’re going to ask people what they took away from the meeting and we’d like to create a list of priorities that we can start to work on.”

One of the AIA team’s suggestions was for Coral Bay businesses to market directly to tourists, Coldren explained.

“That is something that a committee of people involved with the tourist business could get started on right away,” she said. “We’ll look at the recommendations, see if the community agrees and get a group of volunteers together.”

“There is no reason to wait for the final report if there is agreement on some of the things they suggested,” said Coldren.

CBCC officials also hope to create a steering committee as the group looks toward the future, Coldren added.
“There were a number of people who showed interest about wanting to be on an initial steering committee to work on the next steps,” she said. “The is our first chance to come together since the May meetings. This will be a chance to talk about those recommendations and see which things we can get started on.”

While the AIA team offered several recommendations for expanding meaningful tourism, protecting environmental resources and ensuring access to those resources, there was no magic formula offered to fix Coral Bay’s problems, Coldren explained.

“There is no magic bullet in their report,” she said. “The magic bullet is that we got the community together and people want to come together again.”

Fostering community action and input has become an important initiative for CBCC, Coldren added.

“Something else that came out of the meeting is the idea to start hosting regular public meetings,” she said. “We’re looking to broaden the venue for public meetings and we hope that the local churches will become actively involved in hosting these gatherings. We’d like to rotate venues for the meetings and broaden the leadership in terms of having meetings that involve the whole community.”

For more information on CBCC’s survey results or upcoming meeting call the group at 776-2099 or check out their website at