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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 26, 2022


The executive director of the Virgin Islands Port Authority, Gordon A. Finch, says the authority shouldn't be in the business of constructing public dinghy docks at Crown Bay or anywhere else.
But Finch supports the notion that the authority and the central government should hammer out a solution to the problems Water Island residents now face in docking their dinghies at Crown Bay Marina in Sub Base.
Finch’s comments came this week at a governing board meeting of the VIPA where he argued that the government—not the port authority— should be responsible for providing such facilities.
"It is my recommendation that we not become involved in providing dinghy docks for the public use. Yes, we did include one on the Crown Bay dock but I am against the notion that it is the Port Authority’s responsibility to provide this type of amenity," he added.
Finch said it was likely that the escalating controversy between Water Island residents and Crown Bay Marina will require some input from the VIPA, which holds the master lease for the marina facility.
The dinghy owners are residents of Water Island or "boaties" who live aboard sailboats anchored off the small island. They travel daily by dinghy to St. Thomas to shop, work or eat.
They're unhappy because the size of the floating dock at the marina where they tie up their small craft has been reduced, the cost of docking has surged and a two-hour limitation has been placed on them.
"We ought not to establish a precedent in this case because we will open a Pandora’s box," Finch said. "The government can then on a case by case basis rely on the VIPA to construct such facilities." He said he was not opposed to having the government build the facility on VIPA property but he is against any idea that the port authority should construct the dock facility.
Finch told the board of governors the management of Crown Bay Marina has significant plans for the facility including a transformation of the wet slips to accommodate larger vessels. There are also plans to construct another shop building in close proximity to the existing structure, which now is home to The Marine Warehouse and the Gourmet Gallery food store.

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