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Questions Remain Concerning Proposed Public Works Facility

Oct. 24, 2006 — The Public Works Department needs to put a facility in Coral Bay to provide service to the area, Public Works Commissioner George Phillips told about two dozen people gathered Monday for the monthly Coral Bay Community Council meeting at the John's Folly Learning Institute.
Phillips said that because of vandalism concerns it's unsafe to leave department trucks that have been working in the Coral Bay area parked along the street or in people's driveways when work is finished.
The trucks must therefore drive back to the Public Works facility at Susannaberg, which uses up time and gas. "The efficiency is just not there because of the distance," Phillips said.
Phillips said moving buses to Coral Bay would allow them to start their route from Salt Pond to Cruz Bay without having to drive from Susannaberg.
Public Works said it planned to build a facility to be used by both Public Works and VITRAN buses on a five-acre piece of property located on an area known locally as "the flats." The parcel is owned by the Housing, Parks and Recreation Department, which planned to eventually build a recreation facility at the site.
Residents thought that was a given until word surfaced about Public Works' plan to locate a facility at that location.
Phillips said the deed to the property has not been transferred from Housing to Public Works. Additionally, he said no plans have been drawn for the facility.
Coral Bay resident and senatorial candidate Lorelei Monsanto, whose home is adjacent to the planned facility, said she feared her quiet would be disturbed if Public Works built the proposed facility.
Another neighbor said she has 385 feet of frontage on the property and planned that her children would be able to open a gate from her property to a recreational facility.
"The government does not take the children first. It takes the buses first," the woman said.
Residents and Phillips ultimately agreed that Public Works needed a facility, but that the department might not need to use all five acres. This would leave some acreage for a recreational facility.
Phillips said he didn't know how many acres the department needed.
He said that Coral Bay already has a recreational facility, which is a ball field sitting in the center of Coral Bay thats owned by the Moravian Church.
"It's in the best interest of the government to purchase that land from the church," he said.
However, that aforementioned property could be included in the marina development on land leased to a developer by the Moravian Church.
Phillips said his department had the money available to develop the facility, but Housing did not.
He also said that the five-acre parcel needed refurbishment since it has been serving as an informal dumping ground.
Phillips and the people at the meeting locked horns several times. After Coral Bay resident Kristin Cox asked about concrete plans for the facility, Phillips said he couldn't stay there all night.
When he said he'd "been to worse community meetings," Cox told him he needed to think about how he said things.
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