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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Oct. 22, 2001 – Environmental Association of St. Thomas-St. John will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the proposed rezoning of Botany Bay.
EAST will present, in photographs and text, information on the Botany Bay property and its unique natural and cultural resources. Developers have proposed building a large resort complex and gated community on the property, which is presently designated for low-density residential development.
The meeting will be held in Room 224 at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.
The EAST board recently voted unanimously to oppose the rezoning, based on lack of information and the potential for adverse impact on what is one of the largest and most pristine tracts of land left on St. Thomas, EAST president Carla Joseph said in a release. EAST hopes this meeting will address the public's many questions about the proposed rezoning.
In addition to being home to some of the island's healthiest remaining coral reefs and endangered species, Botany Bay is also rich in history. Artifacts from ancient Amerindian villages and plantation-era relics are abundant.
Research by local historian David Knight indicates that at least a hundred slaves worked on the plantation, and thus there is a potential that there may be slave burials somewhere on the property. This research and the developer's Archaeological Phase I report are on file at the Coastal Zone Management office of the Planning and Natural Resources Department. The material is available for public viewing, according to a DPNR spokesperson.
EAST has also signed on to a community petition calling for a resource management plan to be put in place before any development occurs.
Ideally, Joseph said, Botany Bay would become the "cornerstone of a territorial park system", as recommended in a 1993 V.I. government analysis. She said the area would be the perfect place to develop both eco-tourism and local knowledge about natural and cultural history.
"If that is not possible, we need to take every step to preserve what we can, and ensure that development occurs in a very sensitive and careful way," she said. "Our organization remains very concerned about following proper procedures.
"We continue to hope that the government will act with extreme caution when it comes to Botany Bay," Joseph concluded.

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