Caneel Bay, St. John By GETTY IMAGES
ST. JOHN — The National Park Service announced Monday the launch of a new formal process to plan for the redevelopment of Caneel Bay at Virgin Islands National Park.
“This is an important first step in envisioning a Caneel Bay that is fully integrated with the park and is a source of pride for St. John,” said Nigel Fields, superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park. “Steeped in cultural heritage and natural resources, Caneel Bay offers NPS an opportunity to better showcase the full splendor of St. John.”
According to the release, an NPS planning team is focusing its early priorities on framing the stewardship, community and operational objectives for redevelopment. NPS will then work to define the project scope more completely, conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment and outline the site’s commercial, recreational and preservation areas. Planning in this initial phase will lead to a potential range of concepts to be made available for public comment this winter.
“We are taking the community’s ideas and concerns very seriously and value this input as we work together to determine the best future for Caneel Bay. We commit to keeping the public informed of our progress throughout the planning process,” said Fields.
The planning kick-off also coincides with the continuation of environmental testing at Caneel Bay to address data gaps cited in the Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis report (EE/CA), released in September. Among other inquiries, the EE/CA addendum will address potential groundwater contamination not previously analyzed due to weather conditions and seek to determine whether hazardous levels of lead or asbestos have been released to the environment, said the NPS.
Recommendations stemming from the addendum are expected to be considered next summer once findings have been analyzed, issued for public input and finalized. The current data gaps will not delay environmental cleanup and removal actions outlined in an Action Memorandum published to the Caneel Bay EE/CA project website last month.
Current information about the NPS redevelopment of Caneel Bay and related environmental investigations and actions are available at https://www.nps.gov/viis/caneelbay.htm.