Plans to construct a new marina/boatyard in Cole Bay were shown to local residents in early July, and as All At Sea went to press the proposal was back with the Environmental Development and Property Management Department Policy Division.
The $5 million project from Bobby’s Marina is to be built in the Kool Baai Villas area with the aim of servicing and repairing many of the mega yachts that choose St Maarten as a base each season. The ace in the pack is a 500-ton travelift, trumping the company’s existing 90-ton lift and raising the haul out stakes in the Caribbean.
But not everyone welcomes the proposal, which Bobby’s Marina hopes will increase the length of stay of mega yachts in St Maarten. A presentation organized by the Marina for the benefit of local Cole Bay residents turned into a heated exchange when the latter raised concerns about potential health hazards and noise from the boatyard as well as fears of the negative impact the development could have on surrounding property values.
According to the Marina, however, the project will actually enhance the area, as improvements will be required in local lighting, drainage and access. To answer concerns about noise and pollution, it was stressed that sanding and painting would take place indoors and that the 500-ton hydraulic lift would not cause excessive noise.
Whatever the objections, residents can relax for the moment. Any development proposal requires a permit from the Executive Council and the process is not a rapid one. Look out in future issues for updates on what, as our pictures show, could be a remarkable addition to the lagoon waterline.