It has been more than a year and some weeks since two hurricanes devastated our island of St. John. Although a great deal remains to be done, there has been a massive islandwide effort to recover.
The vast majority of properties including government, park, commercial and residential have made visible efforts to clean up, if not yet fully repair, storm-caused damages.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case with the Concordia Eco-Resort in Coral Bay. Much of the site remains as it was immediately after the storm. I find it incredible that a resort lauded as a leader in “green” hospitality was built on a Caribbean island hillside overlooking the sea with building materials primarily of plywood, metal roofing, canvas and 2 x 2 lumber without a contingency fund or, apparently, adequate insurance to cover the inevitable damage from an inevitable storm.
Currently there are composting toilet holding tanks, pressure treated lumber, galvanized roofing, gutters, large pieces of canvas, plastic cisterns, tile and countless other debris spread throughout the resort area and bush downhill toward Salt Pond Beach and the Nanny Point turn-around.
Besides the obvious environmental issues, there is the additional hazard that the unsecured debris can become airborne in another storm, endangering life and property.
From my almost daily observations, I see nothing has been done at the resort except the sale of some salvageable items from the restaurant. This would seem to indicate that despite public relations and advertising to the contrary, the concern is more for the dollar than for the environment.
A pristine hillside was purchased, an “eco” resort was built, money was extracted, and an environmental nightmare was left behind. Surely this is not the legacy the resort founder Stanley Selengut, who was widely acclaimed as a visionary environmentalist, wants to embrace.
— Donald Durante lives on St. John.