I often vacation in the Virgin Islands, and I like to keep up with issues that affect the islands.
I saw your article about Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg's concern for beach access. (See "Senator Wants to Ensure Land Access to Beaches")
His concern is appropriate. Although V.I. residents may not be overly concerned now because they have so many beautiful beaches close by, there is no doubt that private development will choke off beach access.
In my home state of New Jersey, we have over 100 miles of beach, and some of them are spectacular. However, development over the last 50 years has severely limited beach access in our state. The end result is that there are fewer areas where the public can access our beaches. And in the areas where public access is allowed, you must pay daily beach fees, e.g., $ 5 per person per day. Moreover, the nicest beaches are simply not accessible to the public.
As the V. I. developers acquire desirable beachfront property, they will want to restrict public access so as to enhance the "privacy" of the developed sites so as to increase their value. The buyers of such properties will be affluent mainlanders, and the native people of the Virgin Islanders will be excluded from the best beach areas.
Donastorg is looking ahead 20 to 30 years in the future of the Virgin Islands, and he is absolutely correct in doing so.
Paul E. Newell
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