It wasn’t that long ago, but it may be hard to remember what the Enighed Pond waterfront looked like before the construction of the wastewater treatment plant and subsequent port. These late 1990s Tradewinds file photos, above and below, show when the waterfront area across South Shore Road from what is now The Marketplace, was a dumping ground and junkyard.
The V.I. Port Authority will be meeting with the island’s marine operators to take control of the indiscriminate usage of the Enighed Pond Port facilities, according Carlton Dowe, Executive Director of the V.I. Port Authority.
“Those boats that are doing repairs have to leave,” Dowe told St. John Tradewinds on Tuesday, April 15. “We will meet with the operators to discuss what activities can be conducted.”
“There are some challenges and we will be meeting on the 29th of the month,” Dowe said. “The usage is managed by the port’s marine manager.”
Permit Allows Incidental Repairs
The federal Army Corps of Engineers, which issued the permit for the construction of the port, restricted work in the port to “incidental” repairs, according to VIPA officials.
Since the construction of the port in the former salt pond, residents of the Contant neighborhood on the south shore have complained that the operators of several island marine companies have conducted repairs of vessels not in service at the port for lengthy periods of time.
The repainting of one of the island’s three regularly-scheduled vehicle barges currently in service began in early April at a makeshift private commercial site on leased land on the south shore of the pond. The property is directly under the hillside neighborhood, which reignited complaints from residents.
The south and east shoreline of the pond adjacent to and opposite the barge ramp consist of sheet steel pilings driven into the pond to protect the shoreline mangroves planted as a mitigation area as part of the federal approval of the opening of the former salt pond for conversion into a commercial port.
“No Direct Impact” from Sandblasting
The sandblasting of old paint off the vessel is not an environmental problem as long as the owner keeps the sand and paint from any scraping and sand blasting out of the water at the adjacent mangrove shoreline, according to federal and territorial officials.
The mangroves which now fill the mitigation area are also a nesting area for migratory shore birds.
“We didn’t see any direct impact,” said the St. John official for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources who inspected the mangrove work site on behalf of the Army Corps of Engineers. “We didn’t see any evidence of discharges.”