South Sounders say “No”

| 15/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Local News, Real Estate and Development(CNS): Almost one hundred people came out to a meeting on Thursday evening to raise their objections to the plans to develop a residential condo complex with a channel linked to the ocean through South Sound Road.  Although there were no representatives from the development, residents and others from across Grand Cayman voiced their objections and signed the petition put together by those organising the opposition to Emerald Sound, a development by RC Estates. Local activist and former politician Berna Cummins, one of the lead organisers, said they would be submitting an official objection to planning from those in the area but also sending the petition to everyone concerned. (Left: Peter Millburn one of many who raised the dangers of the canal at the meeting)

She said even though planning was only required to consider the objections of those in the 1500ft radius, she would be sending the objections from the wider community to the Central Planning Authority as well as elected ministers, the Department of the Environment and the NRA among others.  “We will take this all the way to the privy council if we have to,” Cummins told CNS.

Cummins noted that the proposal to cut a canal through the road affected many people and not just immediate residents. Such a fundamental change could not be confined to the objections of just those immediately impacted but by a wider audience she noted. Cummins suggested the objections to Emerald Sound were not objections to the development per se but the proposals regarding the canal, the dredging and the development on the shoreline.

During the meeting many people said they too would not object to a development on the land side but some of Cayman’s oldest mariners and seaman offered the benefit of their experienced and warned that cutting a canal was an extremely dangerous and foolhardy venture.

Others offered more personal objections and Billy Adam pointed to the environmental dangers and the pressing need for the National Conservation Bill, which governments had promised and failed to deliver for years. He said the problem lay with the laws and people's failure to obey them, which led to corruption and the need for gatherings such as the one they were at. He also observed that the law which limited objections to the 1500ft radius was flawed and had taken away people's rights.

“If you have no laws you have nothing to protect you and things become corrupt,” he said calling for implementation of the National Conservation Bill and for the people to organise a proper public demonstration.

Community Minster Mike Adam, who also attended the meeting with George Town MLA Elio Solomon, said he had listened carefully to the concerns and he too had his heart in South Sound as it was where he had grown up. He admitted that there were problems with the laws and they were under review. He said that what the people were doing was democracy at work and urged them not to give up. He also said he would follow the process but stopped short of saying that government would oppose the development.

Elio Soloman added that “perhaps” Mark Scotland “might” bring the National Conservation Bill sometime this quarter.

Speaking with CNS after the meeting, Director of Planning Haroon Pandohie explained he had attended the meeting to offer information on the process but he did offer any opinion on what had been said.

He did, however, say that the CPA was obliged to consider objections from those living within the 1500ft area as well as submission from other government departments, including the Department of the Environment, as well as the NRA and others. He did not say if the planning meeting when it was held would be open to the public and he said it would be up to the chair of the board if the media would be allowed to cover the meeting.

Burns Conolly, who is representing the developers, had re-notified those living within a 1500ft radius of the development on 23 December and the revival of the projected was reported on Sunday on CNS, which was followed by a surge of opposition on the comment board and on the radio talk shows.

Anyone wanting more information about the details of the development can contact Burns Connolly bconolly@burnsconolly.com. Plans can be viewed at the Planning Department and details about the objections can be gained from berna@candw.ky as well as hard copies of the petition. Anyone wishing to sign the petition can also do so on line at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ci345es/petition.html

Category: Headline News

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t hold your breath on "sales information"…

    …or count your chickens before they’re hatched, for this matter…

    There are a number of wealthy property owners in South Sound – a number of them, lawyers – who will do everything in their power to stop this crazy and ill-conceived project…

    Even if it gets approved by Planning, expect legal challenges starting with   arbitration all the way to the Privvy Council, should this become necessary…

    I have already suggested at the meeting to start a legal fund and my cheque book and those of many objectors stand ready…

  2. Jack Meoff says:

    Im all for it!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Has sales information been released for this project? Seems like it could happen (thus the frantic nature of environmentalist objectors!)

    Hopefully Government will realize the few who object are but a small fraction of SS residents!

  4. Anonymous says:

    20′ tall BRIDGE destroys Seascape…

    I forgot to mention one of the worst features:

    Apparently, the bridge will be a 20′ high unsightly HUMP of concrete right in the middle of South Sound road that will block the sight of oncoming traffic in both directions and totally mar the landscape…

    Anyone – no matter where they live in Cayman – may object to this Emerald Sound development on the grounds of the  realignment of South Sound road, a public road and the creation of a traffic hazard, the unsightly bridge, since we are all road users and should have a say in such matters…

    Readers are welcome to cut and paste information they like in this post and the previous one, titled "Grounds for Objection…" to use in support of their own e-mail or letter of objection: I sent mine with read receipt to the acting Director of Planning: haroon.pandohie@gov.ky

    Objectors have until the end of January 2010 to file and should include their name and address or legal description of their property 

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t hear any objections to theinstallation of a similar bridge in the Esterly Tibbetts Hyw. behind the Ritz Carlton. Is that really an intrucive and unsightly HUMP. No Complaints, it was done by Mike Ryan na?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Grounds for Objection to the proposed Emerald Sound development

    Aside from the issues raised in the Petition, here are some others worthy of consideration…

    Misleading Statements in the developer’s application:

    1) Emerald Sound will not increase the likelihood of sea surge as it is not removing any coastal vegetation (except at the canal entrance) nor reducing the beach ridge elevation. The canal entrance will be protected by a natural rock breakwater and the canal entrance is facing southwest, the most unlikely (almost unheard of) direction of sea surge. In reality, Emerald Sound will likely improve the sea surge resistance of the area not reduce it. There will be no disruption to South Sound main road traffic…

    Totally untrue: the developer and architect clearly do not understand the issues…

    – When a hurricane centre passes South of the island, the winds start in the North-East, then veer South- East, as happened in Ivan, but the swells and waves hit the shore perpendicularly, that is from the South. The channel is not oriented to the South-West, as claimed, but South-South-West and seas, instead of breaking at the coastal ridge will continue Northward along the newly created channel, destroying the bridge, cutting off South Sound road for a long period of time and battering homes in the general vicinity.

    – However, when the hurricane centre passes to the North of the island, then the wind starts in the North-West quadrant and backs to the South-West, where again, Emerald Sound channel, the canals and surrounding properties are totally exposed to the seas coming in directly in the axis of this channel.

    This development could lower surrounding properties values by up to 30%, as a result of the increased risks in a hurricane and result in much higher insurance premiums…  

    2) The main South Sound road (Belair Drive to Old Crewe Road) will be slightly relocated and straightened to the North…

    Totally False: this development will greatly increase traffic risks in the vicinity of Old Crewe road 

    It looks like South Sound road will be moved between 80 and 100′ to the North to make the developer’s lots on the seaside much deeper, so as to increase their value. In addition, instead of "straightening" the road, the developer decided to insert a sharp curve near the intersection with Old Crewe road, where South Sound road was essentially straight before.

    Cars on Old Crewe road crossing South Sound road to turn right will have limited or no visibility of incoming traffic from the West and the condos owners on the seaside opposite Old Crewe road will no longer be able to safely cross South Sound road to turn right or continue on to Old Crewe road, as they will have absolutely no visibility at all.

    3) The new portion of road will be created higher than the existing road, thereby increasing its resistance to storm surge…

    Misleading:

    This portion of road was never damaged during Ivan: why does it require more protection when it has already been proven to resist the worst?

    4) Emerald Sound, in its current form, is the lowest density feasible that can be placed on the site…

    Misleading:

    It looks low density because of the area lost to the canals, but the developer has squeezed as many house lots as he possibly could with most lots in the 12,000 to 15,000 sq. ft range, not particularly large for a development of this supposedly high caliber.

    Other objectionable features:

    1) 50′ "Flushing Channel" spewing into South Sound:

    I assume that the drainage water from the swales will be discharged there as well…

    Aside from the main channel, there is a 50′ "Flushing Channel" angled Eastward across South Sound road to take advantage of a lot not deep enough to build on, bringing smelly swamp sediments, water darken by peat and everything that will be flushed out from this proposed development within 200′ of neighbouring properties.

    If this "Flushing Channel" were built in a Southerly direction  straight across South Sound road, as it logically should, since the prevailing winds blow from the South-East  directly into this “Flushing Channel” and against its flow, it would occupy lot 21C/127, which is much further away from other properties and less of a nuisance.

    2) No turning lanes at both North and South of project:

    Perfect setup to cause accidents and slow the normal traffic down, as other motorists wait for car turning in or coming out to get through.

    3) 200 mangroves replanted:

    The claim that the developer planted 200 mangroves is a sad joke: a while back, clumps of tiny mangrove trees potted in some cementitious material were dropped off in various locations and they are still there in  clumps, looking more forlorn every month…

    Conclusion:

    – This development could lower surrounding properties values by up to 30%, as a result of the increased risks in a hurricane and result in much higher insurance premiums…  

    – There is absolutely no need to realign South Sound road, other than to line the pockets of the developer by creating deeper lots on South Sound.

    – A canal development with a channel generally opened to the South is a recipe for disaster.

    I have no objection to the development of this property, as long as South Sound road remains in its current location and there is no breaching of the coastal ridge with attendant bridge and canals.

     

  6. anonymous says:

    this all sounds really like the South Sound Families Quarreling from what I hear….one against another…you guys better stay out of that one…you know those South Sounders…

  7. Anonymouse says:

    It might be worth following up the Director of Planning’s statment "that the CPA was obliged to consider objections from … the Department of the Environment". IIRC a lawyer last year succesfully argued that the CPA could not consider environmental issues put forward by the DoE (and area residents) when deliberating on a different development last year.

  8. Durrrr says:

    SOME South Sounders say no.

     

    I for one say YES… I just hope I’ll have enough money to afford a parcel.

    • Ben Dover says:

      And the insurance you will need against floods – remember Ivan?????

       

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree this piece of swamp when developed would increase all the values to the South Sound Communities.

        However some just like to be difference to I made them stop it.

        Let us develop in a sustainable way, of which I am sure the developer will do with no damage to any of South Sound environment.

         

        • Columbo says:

          However some just like to be difference to I made them stop it.

          Say what?

          • Ram Goat says:

            Hoy Vey…

            Someone needs an english lesson, Columbo. Guess dem nah grasp it…

             

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea right! You not even from South Sound.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Durrrr, you actually gonna leave West Bay to live in South Sound? You sure you gonna be able to afford to? You better check before you pick up & leave West for South 

  9. Anonymous says:

    A lot of this smacks of jealousy. The developer owns a nice chunk of land and wants to build some decent houses with canal access to the sea and you all are up in arms.

    God forbid that it was Dart, you’d all be kissing up like an intern in the White House.

    I wish I had a nice piece of land to develop. Good luck to him. It is hard working people like this that create the jobs.

    I am sure that there are similar developments to compare the environmental impact and before we jump to conclusions; what is the Environmental Impact Study verdict from proper certified and experienced professionals, not a mob of green-eyed, raving lunatics?

    If there is a significant risk of damage to the natural eco-system, then don’t do it, but please get all the facts first.

    When the mob rules, everyone loses.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Noone is against him developing it RESPONSIBLY and with the surrounding community and environment in mind…

       

      • Anonymous says:

        But, isn’t that what the plan is. It takes into account the effect this new development will have on the surrounding low land and will allow for propper drainage. In my opinion, the environment was compromised when the road was built which land locked any drainage from the swamps causing over flooding and killing everything but the mangrove. Also that area was filled in during the 70’s causing the over growth of the willow pine (Causarinas) which do not offer substantial protection from hurricanes and covers the ground with its shallow roots and needle droppings preventing any other vegitation growth. I think we should get rid of those things by any means necessary. Develop the area and promote (Plant) indeginous shrubbery and trees to fit in with our local environment. Go ahead Mr. Burns make something good out of South Sound.

    • Columbo says:

      I do recall a lot of people protesting against the Ritz due to amount of mangrove being destroyed, and against the Iron wood road.

      So your point is moot, there is no jealousy.

      As for a EIS, sounds a great idea, but shouldn’t it have been included with the plans?

      When the Gov runs roughshod over the people and their concerns, everyone doubly loses

      • Anonymous says:

        Wasn’t Mr. Connolly one of the loudest and most public objectors to the Ritz?  Funny how his environmental conscience has now eluded him. 

    • Anonymouse says:

      What Environmental Impact Study is the question. Under current law there is no requirement fro an EIA, hence (1) people feel that meetings like this are the only way they can become involved in the planing process and (2) there is a lack of any real information for peopel to assess, just their opinion and your inuendo.

    • Anonymous says:

      He owns a nice piece of land, great, so go ahead and build on it within the laws and zoning requirement. Digging up a public road to facilitiate a canal is a whole other game!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Were any of the GT MLA’s in attendance?

    CNS Note: Well I would’ve thought the line in the article  "….Mike Adam, the community minster who also attended the meeting with George Town MLA Elio Solomon said…" would’ve given that one away! ….then again may be not…..

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

       Cant you not read??? It says" Mike Adam, the community minsterwho also attended the meeting with George Town MLA Elio Solomon"

      • Anonymous says:

        NO! We are talking about the GT MLA’s that can talk for themselves, not the ones that have to do what Mac says!

        • Anonymous says:

          And who exactly would that be ……………. the silent opposition who couldnt do their job when they were being paid to do it and now you expect them to work for their money…………….. you are tooooooo funneeeyyyyy also!!!!!!!!!!

          • Anonymous says:

            I think it is better to pay our silent opposition than to pay our vocal leaders & watch them take everything we have. At least our "silent opposition" were honest leaders when they "were being paid" to do their job (government). At least the "silent opposition" was an honest government when they were the government……………….."you are tooooooooooo funneeeeyyyyyyy also"!!!! GIVE ME HONESTY ANYDAY!

             

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh, those MLAs – no they were not there. They are in semi retirement mode after losing the election. They hardly attend anything; don’t know why we continue to pay them.

      • noname says:

        Was Mike Adam is attendance?

        • Anonymous says:

          I guess he was …………………. the article says he was !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        hence the question! Who are Mike Adam & Elio Solomon? Do we know them?