Governor Albert Bryan recently addressed the ongoing speculations surrounding the Hull Bay Ramp and Parking Improvement Project, seeking to put to rest circulating rumors within the Virgin Islands.
Five years ago, during my campaign, I made a commitment to the Northside residents and Hull Bay fishermen,” Governor Bryan recalled. “The promise was clear: The Bryan-Roach Administration would focus on enlarging the boat ramp and revamping parking facilities. Our ultimate goal has always been to guarantee ease and efficiency for both our dedicated local fishermen and the beach enthusiasts.”
The governor emphasized the longstanding demand for such an initiative, tracing it back to the aspirations of local fishermen and beach visitors. He shed light on various public town hall events organized to capture the sentiments of Northside residents and keep them abreast of project developments.
Voicing his concern, Governor Bryan remarked on the increasing desire of some parties to push the project back to its ideation stage, despite comprehensive discussions and consultations.
The origins of the Hull Bay ramp initiative can be traced back to 2011, per the official records. Its primary blueprint emerged in 2013 after two significant public consultations. Nonetheless, funding constraints paused the construction ambitions. It wasn’t until 2017 that a fresh influx of funds rejuvenated the initiative. But setbacks, like the ramp’s collapse in early 2019, necessitated diversion of funds for urgent reparations.
In the midst of this, Jean-Pierre Oriol, the V.I. Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner, remains hopeful. “With the current state of affairs, we’re poised to construct a robust boat ramp at Hull Bay, coupled with specialized parking for trailers. We’re also envisioning enhanced parking for beach visitors,” Oriol shared.
After disclosing the detailed architectural plans, DPNR received varied feedback – from concerns about maintaining public access during the build to the scale of the project and tree removal concerns. Oriol reassured the community, stating that the existing ramp would stay in service during construction, with dismantling planned only post the new ramp’s inauguration.
Diving into the specifics, Oriol highlighted, “The present ramp is just shy of 100 feet. In contrast, our proposal stretches it to 120 feet, ensuring hassle-free boat launches without vehicles getting submerged.”
Enhanced parking provisions have been outlined, emphasizing utility for trailers. “Our blueprints incorporate organized parking for both cars and trailers,” Oriol further elaborated.
The revamp requires cutting down 13 trees, but the government has committed to replanting 10 in compensation.
In February 2022, a collaboration between the Governor’s Office and DPNR birthed a public Town Hall event, disseminating updates and redevelopment plans to the locals. Another community engagement is slated for Thursday, 6 p.m., at The Shack in Hull Bay, offering residents another platform to air their views.
In his closing thoughts, Oriol underlined, “Our vision is steadfast – ensuring lasting public accessibility to this region, and we’re diligently progressing to realize this goal.”