Salt Creek best for boat hole

| 24/08/2011

(CNS): A group of local boat owners say that Salt Creek and not the head of Barkers, as claimed by Captain Eugene Ebanks, will be the best place for a hurricane boat hole. Despite claims by the UDP West Bay backbencher that he had the support of around 23 boat captains for his proposal, a group of more than 35 boat owners and operators have said that although they support the need for a safe harbour for local boats during bad weather, they all believe that Barkers is the wrong place as it isnot safe enough and also environmentally sensitive. Government should create the hole on crown land in Salt Creek and sell the marl to cover the costs, the boat owners say.

Captain Bryan Ebanks said that claims made by Capt. Eugene Ebanks at public meetings recently regarding the ForCayman Alliance were misleading. He said that while captains from the West Bay area have long advocated a boat hole for local vessels to seek safe harbour when a hurricane threatens, he stated that few of them actually supported the boat hole being in Barkers.

As a result, he says, some 35 captains have signed a letter which has been sent to the governor, the premier, Cabinet and all members of the Legislative Assembly setting out a proposal for the facility at land owned by the crown at Salt Creek. “We suggest that government could finance the project with the money it gets from selling the marl that will be produced as a result of the creation of the boat hole,” he said.

Bryan Ebanks said that historically the area was always a place where sea captains had brought their boats and he said it was Benson Ebanks who had ensured the land remained in public hands with the view of creating a proper safe harbour there.

Capt Bryan said he and several other boat owners were concerned when they heard about Capt Eugene’s proposals as they believe the head of Barkers is not a safe choice. “While nowhere on Grand Cayman can ever be completely safe from a hurricane, the Salt Creek area is about the safest and nearest location for West Bay,” he added.

The other issue was that Barkers has been earmarked as a place for special protection as an environmentally sensitive area. “It makes no sense to swap land to set aside and create a park, employ rangers and everything else, and then go ahead and dredge there as well as build roads,” Capt Bryan added. He warned that once commercialisation starts in Barkers it would be hard to stop it.

Local environmental experts have confirmed that creating a boat hole in the area would be a threat to the sensitive environment, including loss of mangrove habitat as well as the threat to water quality, which would have a direct impact on the surrounding marine environment. The Department of Environment (DoE) also noted that the proposed location forms part of the area designated to be a national park.

“The DoE led an extensive public and stakeholder consultation process on the potential layout of the park and a marina/hurricane hole was not part of the plan,” the department stated. Any kind of marina is not in keeping with the proposals for Barkers and it would also have considerable environmental impacts.

Without all of the specific construction details of the proposal, the DoE, when asked, said it could not give an accurate assessment about all of the possible negative environmental impacts but it noted some obvious and unavoidable impacts in dredging a boat access channel from the existing borrow pits associated with Morgan's Harbour and The Shores development. 

“Dredging impacts include direct loss of shallow sea grass habitat in an important nursery area, short term heavy siltation associated with mechanical dredging activities and then chronic low levels of sedimentation associated with boat traffic and water currents continually stirring up the unconsolidated seafloor in the footprint of the channel,” the spokesperson added.

The DoE also warned of additional undetermined long term impacts, which might include alteration of local water current and wave regimes, as deeper waters allow larger waves closer to shore.  It said the creation of a deeper water basin with low flushing ability would also have impacts on water quality draining out of the basin on to the surrounding marine environment.

“There is also the direct loss of the Red and Black mangrove habitat and respective fauna in the Barkers area associated with the channel through the fringing mangrove and subsequent basin footprint,” the government’s environmental scientists said.

The DoE said that there were other practicalities to consider if a boat hole was to be dredged there, such as the lack of existing access and infrastructure. “The area is also prone to high levels of flooding.”

Environmental experts also say that the North Sound is a basin that can easily be influenced by any hurricane from any direction and as such there are not many ideal locations for a boat hole.  Wind strength and flooding are probably the two major issues with the site that is currently being discussed, however, as the mangrove tree cover is not particularly high or robust and the low lying wetland and basin type will mean that storm surge will be high.

Category: Local News

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they should just do what the Expat dive boat operators do.  I know its not the Caymanian way but maybe its time to do what works over what your used to doing?  Just a thought.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The best place in a hurricane is to anchor in themiddle of the sound on 2 long anchor rodes where you can swng 360 degrees. Tying up in a confined area is stupid. What this is really about is free docking space.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WTF? Are you kidding me? Is government going to build me a hurricane proof parking garage for my taxi? Who do these guys think they are, West Bay’s chosen ones? Why should government pay (and by government that means me and you) to protect their business assets when the rest of us have to fend for ourselves?
    This is just another attempt by them “Bayas” to get government to build them a marina for free! They have been at it for years now, just look at the free-for-all down at SafeHaven! Why shouldn’t these guys have to pay their own way just like the rest of us? How can they be so blatantly selfish when this country is already so deep in debt?
    They want to sell the marl to pay for the project? These guys either have no clue about economics, or they are hoping that you have no clue about economics. They just figure if they make enough noise they will finally get what they have wanted all these years, a free marina, with free rent! “Elections comin up ya na”!
    But why stop there? What about free fuel guys? And maybe you could get government to pay your insurance for you? Actually, as absurd as that sounds, that would be a lot cheaper for government! Then maybe after the next hurricane they could get some decent boats to take people out on instead of them tired old cattle boats that they have been beating to death since the seventies.
    This West Bay cartel seriously needs a reality check… PAY YOUR OWN WAY! Stop looking at government and my pocket to support your business!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It's all just BS vote buying anyway.  By discussing it, we're buying (literally) the BS.  yummy, kinda getting used to the flavor.

  5. Anonymous says:

    maybe they can take the fill and fill up somebody's pie hole.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How about a car hole. I don't gots a boat…. yet

  7. Anonymous says:

    These boat captain & crews sure know a good hole, and protection is vital in such cases when it starts to blow!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I see many posters dont understand or appreciate the connection to the sea, and the need to protect boats – like any property. 

    Im sure when the next surge comes through, with the new bypass road now mere feet from the north sound canal system, they will get it. 

    Maybe they think we need to pave the island from the North Sound to SMB – as in some places already!

    Hmmm – will we have to pay Dart to access his (our) SMB beach road when that happens???

  9. Anonymous says:

    It seems more and more every segment of the population expects government to just pay for everything.

    What happened top the Caymanian spirit of being independent?

    It does not bode well for the future.

  10. sammy sea says:

    Is there a hole for the politicians?

  11. Anonymous says:

    This isn't about a hurrican hole, folks, it's a marina for the born and bred to keep their boats for free ( andwith a shorter run to Sting Ray City.)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not being a resident of grand cayman but coming there every year for 30 yrs i have seen the downward spiral in the quality of the island.and crime there and greedy government officials take put financial gain ahead of their countries problems it sad.

    People do the right thing keep the cayman islands a nice place to visit and do run it in the ground.

    I put in to the island coffers in 30 hrs is close to 200,00.00 usd not a lot but I’m a small guy multiply that by thousand of tourist And it adds up people will change where they go.

    Government look at yourselfs

    Fix it

  13. Anonkymous says:

    Can we please dredge a Mac Hole instead!? Seriously, a few points here:

    Hurricane Ivan proved beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt that nothing, and I repeat NOTHING, will keep a boat safe under the right (or wrong) conditions!

    Putting a hurricane hole near residences is dangerous to those residences because nothing, and again I repeat NOTHING, will keep a boat safe, which in turn will not keep a house safe!!!

    Government wants to create a hurricane hole for boats. I don't have a boat. Many people living on this island DO NOT HAVE A BOAT. I do have kids though. Many people here have kids. If we are SO broke, how can we afford to create a safe harbour for a few, whilst not addressing the problems of the youth of the Cayman Islands:




    This is just a small sampling of the IMPORTANT things we should be focusing on!

    This administration is so blatantly trying to fill favours and negotiate deals that benefit themselves and their cronies and benefactors that they can't even bother to do it in a way that will even remotely make sense to the average person. They've gotten away with spewing lies and subterfuge for so long it's difficult to begin generating plausible reasons and covers now that they are under the microscope!

    Ahhhh boy…

  14. Expat with a Boston Whaler says:

    Who gets to use it?

    Am I going to be able to put my Boston Whaler in there?


  15. Confused says:

    Can someone please explain to me why I need to help cover the costs to protect someone else's boat ???

  16. Anonymous says:

    Dart is already advertising an upscale "Salt Creek Residential Community" for this property being swapped for land in Barkers to make a safe harbour for boats from hurricanes. Why is the Premier and Dart swapping land instead of Dart buying so our coffers can be filled from his riches with land transfer tax and the money used to balance the budget and educate our youth and motivate young farmers to use the land the Agricutural Ministry is leasing for a peppercorn – up to 10acres I hear.  These are things that will benefit our country and not promises by Dart…he is only licking the cream off the cake and no crumbs are falling…only promises….investigate and see how many caymanian contractors got jobs from buildign at Camana Bay and who will get the Salt Creek luxurious homes contracts and those to transport  the dump from the By-pass in our beautiful historical first capital Bodden Town…no dump not going deh!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    The salt creek owners will not allow this; they have multimillion dollar homes there. Yes the property was owned by Dart but he has subdivided the property and it is under strata no longer owned by him.

  18. Sailor says:

    How short our memories are?!?  

    Many boats thought the Yacht Club would be a good hurricane hole during IVAN and we found boats 1/2 mile inland after THAT storm.

    Tidal surge will surge!  Make a fool-proof plan, not a foolish one!

    PS…Please dont tie your dam fishing boats in my Prospect residential canal again with mere dental floss, I'll sue your grandkids if a boat gets tossed into my house.


    • Anonymous says:

      exactly, boats on moorings did not do well.  Boats dragged up into mangroves did best.  Sadly we have few mangroves left to use as protection….

  19. Married to a Caymanian says:

    Unless Dart likes Sale Creek for a development…


  20. Nomad says:

    The whole pretext behind this so called" Hurricane Hole" in Barkers is to get a dedge into the North Sound to dredge so that they can kill several birds with one stone.  Oil refinery Darts Gate way and to open up the North Sound to the very things the premier said was taken off the table. It is really sad that we have so many self serving individuals that are so foolish that they cannnot see this. In Salt Creek there is already a Large Basin that could simply be expanded and deepened since Dart wants to be so helpful. Do not hold your breath on that one, no money  in that.  Our country is now taking a steady road  to destruction to wit by Consolidation of Power first and then corruption, its necessary consequences. Why is it Cayman that these people simply can't  tell the truth. Where are the studies for these areas ?

    • Puh-lease says:

      Hear Hear!  Salt Creek is NO better that the SMB Yacht Club in a storm like IVAN.   This is all a way for Big Mac and Dart to get some dredging equipment put into this area (*and whoops, look, since they were there….we decided to go ahead with a few other projects….) simply laughable.

      As for the owners of the beautiful homes in Salt Creek, I don't think they want Ya Fishin Boats landing in their swimming pools during a storm tidal surge thank you.

      Any huriccane hole should be miles away from any residential homes, period.

      Duck Pond would be better.

  21. Quack says:

    Actually up by Duck Poind would make a lot more sense.



  22. Anonymouse says:

    Having seen Ivan wash boats moved into the Shores 'hurricane hole' inland, Barkers does not appear to be a suitable location to me.

  23. Anonymous says:

    For centuries people have anchored their boats in the mangroves with success and now 35 boat captains want this and the government should do this before finishing the schools.

    What about the dive boats that provide the dive segment of the tourism industry? They seem to be able to survive with things as they currently are.

    Not much will be better than the mangroves anyway.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Supply and build your own place or be willing to pay the fees for the conveniance. Why should it be provided for you? It will end up like Salt Creek and the Yacht Club. A dumping ground!

    What do other business owners get? I would love to be supplied with free hurricane shutters.

    I can remember the days when there was not enough boats to carry all the tourists on snorkel and dive trips, two and three times a day, seven days a week. What happened to all of that money? No one asked for a marina then.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone tell me whose boats will be allowed in the hole once it is done? There are hundreds of boats in these islands and this, once again, is a costly and unnecessary project to benefit a few.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately no one is going to get any "fees" if we use the land at Salt Creek…you know what I mean

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! Government owns the land, so it cant be bought and sold back! How would anyone in government profit from that?

      Cayman might win, but that doesnt count for much.

    • Anonymous says:

      Salt Creek ? That land is a gift to Dart from MacMadasse!

      You can not build a safe harbour there for boats! That area is reserved for Dart.

      How can Eugene get his mind so twisted to start thinking Barkers would be a good place for a safe harbour? Did he not see the 60 ft waves crashing on the reef during hurricane Michelle or was he doing what he does best?

      66 acres of the peoples land in a prime site to be given to a Billionare along with a 30 year moratorium on hotel fees. We really need Dart in Cayman.  Oh why am I complaining about giving Dart a piece of land that is worth only $66,124,080?

      Why is the media saying that oppossition really needs to stop trying to bring that lack of no confidence motion to the house? because that is a waste of time and will take so much valued time of the government and the Premier and the Deputy Premier? Oh I mean you know the cabinet is working hard for Cayman to get us out of this mess! Yah yah.  And they need to conclude this For Cayman Alliance stuff to get us out of this mess. Yah yah!.  

      Lord A Moses, Cayman people must be mad (and certain media is big let down) to let that BS go through. Every day this government comes up with a worse idea! And we have people looking the other way.

      • Anonymous says:

        I only wish Dart would keep his dog on a leash.  That dog is freekin scary when he gets his back up.