Judging by the crowd enjoying Smugglers Cove on the recent Whit Monday holiday, many Virgin Islands residents like the beach just the way it is.

And that’s largely the message that they delivered to their elected leaders at a public meeting held Thursday night at Carrot Bay’s Abraham Leonard Community Centre.

Charles Cooper, an architect hired by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour to draw up plans for facilities near the beach, described a proposed development that would consist of nine buildings, including an information centre, restrooms and structures to hold a yet-to-be-determined number of vendors.

Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering, the minister of natural resources and labour, said the development would create a place for commercial activity, alleviating tensions between vendors and other beach users.

“The police were being called so frequently because knives were being drawn, people were threatening each other,” Dr. Pickering said. “It was just completely unsustainable so the first thing we did was shut it down. We closed it up.”

But, the minister added, government wants to strike a balance between over-development of the beach and providing needed facilities — not “taking bread out of anyone’s mouth.”

See the May 30, 2013 edition for full coverage.