There is a reason that Christmas Cove on Great St. James Island is the recommended "first stop" for St. Thomas based charter boats. Its crystal clear waters have an abundance of healthy marine life. What a perfect introduction to the Virgin Islands! The waters on the south side and west end of the island are popular dive sites for tourists and locals alike, for the same reason.
The proposed development on Great St. James would put the entire eco-system in jeopardy. The damage that could be done to this pristine resource, its salt ponds, historic sites and surrounding waters would be irreversible. We all know too well the damaging erosion that takes place after a heavy rain. A huge amount of soil will be displaced when preparing 53 building sites, digging 53 cisterns, bulldozing connecting roads. There is no way that silt fences can offer enough protection. Monitoring cannot bring back a site to its original condition.
I am sure that the developers were well aware, when purchasing the island, that it sits in a marine sanctuary, has a wealth of salt ponds and historic sites. I am amazed that such an ambitious development was even proposed, considering the site. CZM Board members, the future of this island is in your hands…
Mary Louise Lauffer
St. Thomas, V.I.
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