If build it, they will come… eventually

So now everyone’s complaining about the proposed West End ferry terminal.

They say that it’s way too big.

That its $25 million price tag is too high, and could be overrun by millions.

That government can’t afford the facility and won’t properly manage its construction.

That traffic congestion will result.

That there’s not nearly enough ferry traffic in West End to justify a 75,000-square-foot facility — especially now that most passengers go directly to Road Town from St. Thomas.

Short-sighted

If you ask me, these naysayers are inexcusably short-sighted.

People who think in the long term, like the BVI Ports Authority and me, know that the humongous ferry terminal is a great idea.

True, ferry traffic isn’t very heavy in West End right now. But so what? By the year 2300, it will be.

In the meantime, tourists will love the oversized structure. I can see them now, gawking up in awe and praising its magnificence.

“Wow! That’s the biggest dang ferry terminal I ever saw on such a little island!”

“Whoooeeee! Lookit! That’s some terminal! You can’t even see the mountain behind it!”

“Wow! The little harbour that used to be here is gone!”

“Hey mom, can we come back to this ferry terminal and spend lots of money every year until I turn 21? Please?”

And this is to say nothing of the positive publicity the VI will receive when the building makes the Guinness Book of World Records.

Eventually, I predict, enough stores and restaurants will arrive to transform the terminal into the third pillar of the Virgin Islands economy.

Extra space?

Of course, this might take a while. So for now, the only question is how to use all the extra space in the meantime.

Fortunately, I have some good ideas, as usual.

Like, say, a new high school. Now, this suggestion might seem a little silly at first. After all, why would the government want to spend $25 million on a bunch of teenagers?

But I’m only advocating this step as a temporary measure: When enough Gucci and Prada stores move in to the ferry terminal, the teenagers can be relocated to a trailer park, or outdoor classrooms in Pockwood Pond.

My idea would enable government to save millions on the proposed new high school, which leaders have prudently delayed for almost a decade in an apparent attempt to cut back on unnecessary spending.

As an added bonus, my idea would also benefit taxi drivers. I’m no expert, but I believe that most high school students live in Road Town or East End. Think of all the money taxi drivers would make shuttling them out west and back. Even charging a discount rate of $20 a pop, the drivers could get rich off the teenagers in a matter of months.

Meanwhile, the tourists who do come to the terminal would get to see a genuine West Indian school.

Other options

If there’s still leftover space in the terminal after it’s functioning as a high school, I have another idea: an indoor primate centre.

People have been wondering if the lemurs Sir Richard Branson plans to bring to Mosquito Island will eat the endangered dwarf geckos that live there.

My guess is that some of them will and some of them won’t. So why not relocate the gecko-eaters to the West End ferry terminal, where there presumably would be no lizards at all?

This would also ensure that everyone gets a chance to see the primates without having to travel all the way to Mosquito Island.

Finally, if all else fails, I have a foolproof backup plan: a Wal-Mart.

Wal-Marts these days are super-cheap, and everyone loves them. A humongous empty ferry terminal would be the perfect site for one.

People would come from all over the territory to shop there. In fact, an entire community might grow up around it — a community that would make good use of a humongous ferry terminal.

These are just a few ideas. But there’s no rush. The BVI Ports Authority is planning to complete the terminal by the end of next year. Given the progress of other major projects on Tortola, I figure that translates into about 2020. And that’s if we’re lucky.

So there’s plenty of time for us forward-thinking residents to plan ahead.


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