Contant homeowners overlooking Enighed Pond want the V.I. Port Authority to stop shipyard activities in the port, including repair work to vessels moored along the mangroved south shore of the former salt pond which is a nesting ground for migratory shore birds, including herons.
V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe told Irvine Monsanto of Contant to write a letter concerning Monsanto’s complaints about late night and early morning “shipyard” operations being conducted at the Enighed Pond port.
“Dowe told me to write a letter and get my neighbors to sign it,” the frustrated property owner added. “What am I supposed to say? They know what is going on.”
“It’s not about the barge operators,” Monsanto reiterated. “It’s about the Port Authority. I need to know, is this a boat yard?”
“The only boats allowed to be in there are boats in service,” the St. John businessman explained. “This is not against the barge companies.”
“My question is why is the Port Authority letting them do what they are doing?” he asked.
“Dropping Iron on Iron”
David Augustine, Monsanto’s neighbor in the small residential neighborhood overlooking the mangroved south shoreline of the former salt pond, also was not at a loss for words.
“This is supposed to be a port,” Augustine said. “It never used to be a shipyard fixing up things.”
“I complained and nobody is really taking care of the people,” Augustine told St. John Tradewinds. “I know that St. John is ‘Whatever they do is do what they want to do.’; but they’re dropping iron on iron at three, four, five o’clock in the morning.”
VIPA officials have allowed major repair work on large commercial vessels not in service throughout the short history of the port — even though residents of the surrounding area were assured at public hearings during the permitting process for the project that only incidental repairs to vessels in service would be allowed, not major structural or mechanical repairs.
The DPNR official now working with the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which permitted the construction of the port and oversees VIPA’s operation of the port, has said the repair work on vessels at the bulkhead and tied to the shoreline mangroves under the Monsanto and Augustine neighborhood was not a threat to the protected migratory shorebird habitat.
“This is a big bunch of noise,” Augustine reiterated. “Iron on iron.”
“I call the police and the police say they can go until 10 or 11 at night,” he added.
Closed April 29th VIPA Meeting
The V.I. Port Authority officials are scheduled to meet in a closed session with the island’s marine operators on April 29 to take control of the indiscriminate usage of the Enighed Pond port facilities, according to VIPA Executive Director Dowe.
“Those boats that are doing repairs have to leave,” Dowe told St. John Tradewinds on Tuesday, April 15. “We will meet with the operators to discuss what activities can be conducted.”
“There are some challenges and we will be meeting on the 29th of the month,” Dowe told St. John Tradewinds. “The usage is managed by the port’s marine manager.”
While at least two vessels not in regular service remained in the port doing major repairs last week, neighbors of the Enighed port will wait to hear what that means or the noise levels in their homes.
“Day and night they are working,” Monsanto reiterated. “There is noise all night long. It’s hard to deal with it.”
“(VIPA Chairman St. Johnian Robert) Bob O’Connor and Dowe have both told me it shouldn’t be going on,” the Contant resident said. “My tenants complain. Some of them leave because of it.”
“Is this a boat yard?” Monsanto asked.