Objectors make final push over proposed development

| 22/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, Emerald Sound Development(CNS): Residents and other concerned citizens are making a last minute push to get as many signatures as possible on their petition opposing the Emerald Sound development project in the South Sound area. The opposition to this particular development has focused heavily on the developer’s goal to cut a channel from the sea through the South Sound road to the main site, where the main residential condo complex will be constructed adjacent to Bel Air Drive. Berna Cummins (left). one of the people spearing heading the objections. told CNS that this potential development impacts all Caymans resident and not just those in the immediate neighbourhood.

Although planning is only obligated to consider objections from owners of preperties within a 1500ft radius of the development, there are concerns that allowing this development could open the flood gates (literally) for similar projects, and as a result, those opposing the development want to ensure that government is aware of the wider opposition and will be handing a petition to the premier, McKeeva Bush and the head of the relevant government departments and agencies on Tuesday.

“I have not spoken to one individual other than Burns Conolly that is in favour of this planning application,” said Cummins. “This development not only impacts residents of South Sound and adjacent property owners but all residents of Grand Cayman. Granting permission to cut a channel from the sea to the development is setting a dangerous precedent and would be environmentally destructive.”

Cummins also said that re-aligning a straight road with a 20 foot bridge would be out of character for the South Sound area, which is a very well used recreational road and should not be altered for the sake of the developer.

The recent earthquake caused a major sink hole to appear at one condo complex in the South Sound area, as well as a number of smaller holes around the beach, that has also focused further attention on the danger of this particular development. One geology expert, whohas been doing research on the geology of the Cayman Islands since 1981, told CNS that the area around South Sound is not that well studied but there are caves and fissure under the rock which can cause the sink hole problem.

During a recent public meeting about the development a number of Cayman’s most experienced mariners voiced their opposition as they said it was a dangerous idea to cut a channel through the road.

Conolly, who is the architect on the particular project, says that all precautions have been taken in addressing the development and that the issue here has more to do with the ‘not in my back yard phenomena’ rather than genuine objections.

Anyone who wishes to sign the petition can contact Berna Cummins berna@candw.ky or go to the online petition http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ci345es/petition.html . The cut off time for signatures for the online petition is Monday 25 January at 5pm.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I live in West Bay and drive over the "ritz bridge" every day.  It’s actually the highlight of my trip – to get a vista over the golf course, I can only imagine the views over south sound…why will this be such an eyesore?

    • Anonymous says:

      Seaview’s FINE without bridge on South Sound road…

      Besides, you’d better watch where you’re driving instead of the golf course, as there is no visibility ahead of you on a bridge approaching from either sides…

      Right now, there is seaview AND total visilibilty in both direction on South Sound road and this why it’s stupid to block that for the sake of further enriching a developer…

      Besides, in a huriccane like Ivan, this proposed bridge would most likely be destroyed, cutting off the road for many months and worsening an already bad traffic situation until rebuilt…

      If you like bridges so much, build your own in West Bay and leave South Sound road alone…


  2. Belair Resident says:


    I’m a long time resident of belair and when I built my house there was only 3-5ft of peat.  Is Emerald Bay really thatmuch more?  The new road going to the new licensing is also pretty shallow. 

    I offer my support to this project and I’m not sure where everyone else thinks our water is going to go if we aren’t offered a swale access as we are here.


    • Anonymous says:

      I am not a resident of South Sound but I am against this development, & greedy developers in general. Just develop your property & leave the rest alone. Leave the roads, the sound, the mangroves, the environment in general, just leave what is not yours! Why so greedy? Leave the road where it is, & do not dredge, & people will accept the development. WHY ALL THE GREED & DESTRUCTION?

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of BLASTING soon with only 3′ of peat, that’s for sure!…

      The minimum acceptable depth in a residential canal area is 5′, so I guess you’d  better be prepared for the joys of hearing and feeling the vibrations of many months of blasting taking place next door…

      I hope you think twice next time you decide to support a stupid project essentially driven by greed against the wishes of 99% of the surrounding property owners…





  3. 007 For Sure says:

    We the majority of people from CREW ROAD dont want it either as this WILL cause more SALT WATER FLOODS IN OUR area Ivan did enough damage what you think will happen when you bring a canal to Linford Pierson high way and leave it .The LOVE of money is still the root of ALL EVIL.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Reasons why this is a BAD IDEA!

    I have looked at the maps, own seafront property contiguous to this proposed development and have experience developing condos and as a seafarer…

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

    – Conversely, when the hurricane centre passes to the North of the island, then the wind begins blowing from 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 potentially lower surrounding properties values by up to 30%, as a result of the increased risks in a hurricane and increase insurance premiums…  

    – 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 to continue on to Old Crewe road, as they will have absolutely no visibility at all.

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

    – 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 to prevent prevailing South-Easterly winds from blowing directly against the channel’s flow, it would occupy lot 21C/127, which would be far less of a nuisance for neighbouring properties.

    – Unnecessary eyesore of a bridge adds to traffic risks:

    Apparently, the bridge will be a 20′ high and 130’ long unsightly HUMP of concrete right in the middle of scenic South Sound road that will block the sight of oncoming traffic in both directions and totally mar the landscape. When destroyed by a major hurricane, South Sound road will be severed for months pending reconstruction…


    – This development could potentially lower surrounding properties values by up to 30%, as a result of the increased risks in a hurricaneand  increase 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 future disaster.

    – Leave South Sound road alone, forget about the channel, bridge and canals and build a subdivision acceptable to neighbouring property owners, much in the style of San Sebastian now under construction further South.

  5. slowpoke says:


    What was the name of that politician who allowed her father to take out all that turtle grass in South Sound some years ago, with no regard for the environment?


    Oh YES, now I remember.

    • O'Really says:

      The interesting aspect of this is that the area that was dredged has been almost completely filled in by sand and turtle grass has returned in the intervening years, giving some insight into what would be required if a canal was allowed to be built. Both the canal and the sea bottom would need to be regularly dredged to maintain access for the boats. 

      The whole of South Sound is a replenishment zone. It is hard to imagine that there can be any upside to regular dredging; common sense dictates it is likely to have a negative impact on replenishment. Why take the chance?

  6. StillgoingStrong says:

    Berna Cummins declares:


    “Granting permission to cut a channel from the sea to the development is setting a dangerous precedent and would be environmentally destructive.”
    These are serious words! If the channel will hurt our environment, why would anyone in theirright minds, support Burn’s Conolly’s plan?
    I hope making big bucks (money), is not the prime motivator here!
    It will be interesting to see how the Premier responds to the petitions.
  7. anonymous says:

    Precedence?? what about the dredging that WS Walker, Benson and the Kirks did in the 70s? they moved the road back then too to create those same condos where that sink hole is…and eveyone knows that cayman is a limestone island and sinkholes are common potential, others probably opened inland but nobody saw them. Anyway the sink hole is because of an underground cave falling in and nothing to do with emerald sound…if that was the case all of those other south developments which are digging massive lakes should be stopped as well. we are all not stupid with the scare tactics..

    And Ms. Berna, you might be talking to the wrong persons but plenty people support Mr Rene and Burns – we just not vocal like the brainwashed folks that are being led astray. We need work on this islands. Now that those folks got their dredging and money, like Ms Walker, they do not want anyone else to get theirs. shame on you all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because "we need work on this island" is no reason to support a development that will negatively effect the south sound of this island for all of us. The dredging that was done by Benson, Walker et al was of a different nature and did not involve cutting a channel from the ocean into the dry land. Burns had to admit this on cross talk recently, so go and educate yourself on the difference in the two ventures.  Greed is a bad thing.

      • Anonymous says:

        so go and educate yourself on the difference in the two ventures

        I think the poor chap will have difficulty with that, it will go against his brainwashing

  8. Gloria Whole says:

    The more listen to the main players in the "No" camp the more I am for the development

    • Anonymous says:

      So true with your comments, remember when Mr. Thompson wanted to put a development in Pease Bay area. They objected, now they wish the people had a place to work instead of driving all the way to Morritts.

      I drive everyday on the South Sound and the idea of a bridge, no harm done.

      I am sure the developer will have a much better way to drain Randyke Gardens so those poor people will not have to walk in water to their hips ever time it rains. The Blair estate values will soar like the SMB..

      People the hurricane water came from the ground as well (the bubble effect) so if we have a hurricane the number of lake created after Ivan will have a more devastating effect.

      Mr. Conolly go for it.


  9. Durrrr says:

    Setting a precedent? The North Sound is full of canals – the precedent has long been set. And is there any evidence of any of those canals being ‘environmentally destructive’? I am yet to see a single basis of objection that is not based on emotional speculation.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t get it, do you?

      In North Sound, there is NO COASTAL RIDGE to be breached, since it’s mostly swamp and the extensive stretch of shallow water breaks the strength of the waves…

      South Sound on the other hand is very exposed and this is why there was so much damage there during Ivan…

      In addition, why should we accept the traffic hazard brought about by a sharp curve inserted in South Sound road near Old Crewe road and an eyesore of a 20′ high bridge, just to line the pockets of the developer?…



      • Anonymous says:

        What is a coastal ridge?

      • Durrrr says:

        Coastal ridge? The road is about 4 ft above sea-level, and it’s pure swamp where the development is planned. If anything the development should reduce flooding and lessen the risk of storm damage.

        And what is this ‘traffic hazzard’ nonsense – the speed limit is 30 mph on South Sound Road…

        I wonder how many of the vocal protesters have actually looked at the plans? A not insignificant number of them don’t even know where in South Sound it is planned for… 

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, we have seen the plans and we do not want the Emerald Sound canal.


        • Anonymous says:

          That’s 4′ higher than the swamp behind the road and much higher than the mangrove line in North Sound…

          For some of the ignorants posting here, a coastal ridge is an elevation built up of sand and rocks thrown up by the seas in storms and forming a barrier: no matter how high it is, it’s a lot higher than sea level on the one side or swamp level on the other side…

          Breaching this elevation with a 130′ wide channel giving direct access to the low lying land on the other side is nothing short of FOOLISH, as pointed out by old seamen at the objectors meeting…

          I have seen the plan and where South Sound road is virtually straight around the Old Crewe road junction, the developer wants to insert a sharp curve to increase the depth of his lots on the seaside and line his pockets…

          This new curve will make it impossible for the condo owners opposite the junction to safely turn right towards Hurleys or straight across South Sound road on to Old Crewe road.  It will also make it a lot more dangerous to turn right from Old Crewe road on to South Sound road, due to reduced visibility…

          What is it that you don’t understand?…




      • anonymous says:

        What Coastal Ridge???…you mean the 2 feet of sand at Bellair?? I think una would do beter with the seewall.

        Thats silly

      • Bobby Anonymous says:

        What is a Coastal Ridge? The North Sound just Like SOUTH SOUND and East End, all have what they call a fringing reef.

        People also build and live on the "Swampy" North Sound, just like people build and live on the pretty ,lets not do anything but jog South Sound.

        Why worry about the traffic? South Sound has every traffic cop on the Island based there. And I think a bridge would look great, we could all stand on it and see the "coastal Ridge".

        Go developer go. I think frank Hall could build some nice home in South Sound.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is it possible that Ivan caused so much damage in East End, Bodden Town and South Sound, because Ivan approached from East to West, moved slowly and was very close, to the southern side of the island?

        I’ve watched full grown turtles being thrown 75 feet from the waves generated by hurricane Michelle as it passed a great distance off our west coast. At the same time, South Sound was still.

        Do you really think if Ivan has passed closely to our north the North Sound would have mitigated the damage? And even if you think that, I should point out the north sound only covers about a fifth or our northern coastline.

        Count Cayman’s blessings that George Town and Seven Mile Beach were spared by Ivan’s track.

        Finally, some bridges are deemed national monuments. Why does one in South Sound have to be an eyesore? Do you know what it looks like? Is our taste that bad? 



        • Anonymous says:

          you mean like charlie, charlie passed as close ot the North coast as Ivan did to the south.

          Much smaller storm though.

          But with any storm coming from the east to west the south part of the storm is less strong then the North side due to the direction of travel of the storm.

    • Anonymous says:


      Do you live where there is no storm surge flooding?

      If so please reply via this medium then I will post my contact information.

      I live on Crew Rd. and we were flooded from the North Sound and South Sound in Ivan.  The Emeral Sound canal will increase hurricane flooding to Crew Rd and all of Geoerge Town.

      I’m waiting on your reply.

      Yes, Emerald Sound canal is bad idea.

    • Durrrrr hater. says:


      Canals are on the north side of the island, lets keep it that way. They are there for a reason! 

      Keep the man-made ideas out and leave the land alone.

      I have a question for the developer, where are you going to put the 8 to 10 feet deep of swamp/silt when dugged up? This would mean a lot of fill would be needed?

      I would suspect in order to get a "sure footing" in the midst of all that silt for these property the developer will have to spend in excess of CI$15 to 20MM/over 1mm cubic yards of fill alone, that’s a fair estimate, anything less would be a dis-service and put potential land owners in danger of weakening of the land if a canal is built and the land isn’t filled properly.

      Remember people would want to live there forever and not have to leave after the next major hurricane, think about it.

      Have your big consultant check this up for you, it may be one of those make or brake expenses that puts everything in financial prespective for you.


      • Anonymous says:

        Excellent Question!!

        A proper development would call for total removal of the peat, 8′ to 20′ deep in places and replacement by solid compacted fill at least 5′ higher than sea level, so that the seawalls foundations can rest on solid ground and there would be no need for expensive pilings to support the buildings…

        There is no marl to be found anywhere there, so a huge quantity of peat will have to be trucked out – only 8" will ever be needed for topsoil – and a much larger quantity of rock and fill trucked in, placed and compacted…

        So much trucks activity won’t be good for the roads or for traffic, for that matter…

        Or perhaps, the developer intends to bulldoze the vegetation down, lay down some fill, then a Geotextile barrier to prevent the fill from sinking into the mud, thereby opting for the same cheap and nasty solution that has plagued developments such as the Strand and South Hampton Gardens. There, buildings were firmly built on piles, while the surrounding ground keept sinking down by as much as 12", causing all the utility conduits to break down…

        Still, should the developer be able to get away with such nasty shortcut, it doesn’t explain where the seawalls foundation will come from, unless  sheet piling is used. Even so, the tiebacks would be uselessly planted into mud…

        Another good reason to say "NO" to this totally crazy idea!….





  10. Reynaldo says:

     I’m in