Local activists seek support to save West Bay Road

| 25/10/2011

(CNS): Weather permitting, three different community action groups will be hosting a rally this weekend to raise support for their campaign to save a 2500 foot stretch of the West Bay Road from closure as part of a government land swap with the Dart Group. The Concerned Citizens, West Bay Action Committee and Save Cayman are joining forces to urge the wider community to sign the petition against the proposed closure. Government is planning to swap the stretch of road, which is crown land, as part of a wider deal with the islands’ biggest developer and owner of Camana Bay in order to create a beach front site for the property recently purchased by the group on the West Bay Road.

As part of the ForCayman Alliance, a controversial deal which government intends to sign with Dart to stimulate development, the stretch of crown land along the West Bay Road from Calico Jacks to Yacht Drive will be given to Dart in exchange for land in Barkers, West Bay and the construction of the Esterly Tibbetts highway extension.

The proposed deal has sparked a number of concerns among the activists, who have said they are worried that the swap does not represent good value for money for the public purse as well as the continued erosion of public access to the islands’ famous stretch of beach. Concerns have also been raised by some members about the growing power of a single investor that is already estimated to be the largest single land owner on Grand Cayman.

The rally will be held at Seven Mile Public beach at 4pm on Saturday 29 October.

More information is available by emailing trulyforcayman@gmail.com  or calling 9252484

Category: Local News

Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I don't have have a fundamental problem with this proposal – I agree with those postings that speak of other roads being closed in past. 

    I just have a question that I've been unable to get an answer to – has anyone been able to determine if the title to the Public Beach as we now know it, will remain with the Crown.  And, secondly, if the title of the additional stretch of beach to the north of Tiki Beach which is said is being given by the Dart Corporation as a public beach, will be transferred to the Crown.

    That's the main concern I have.

    • Bushwacker says:

      To answer your questions, it is the current understanding that the old Crown Jewel Property (the unfinished Condominium site immediately adjacent to the White Sands Condos; said site currently features a couple of mounds of sand and a foundation on it) “will become an additional space where the public can enjoy the seven mile beach”. However, this said property will remain under title to the direct and sole benefit of Dart, as it is the necessary Public Open Space required under current the Planning and Development Law for any sub-division within the Cayman Islands.


      Therefore to answer your questions;


      1.  the Public Beach as is currently known as Seven Mile Pubic Beach, immediately located between Harbour Heights Condominiums  andCalico Jacks will remain “Crown Land”,


      1.  the additional sections “to be developed in an effort to add to the Public Beach experience” immediately across the street along either side of Governor’s Way will be remain in title to the benefit of Dart. Said parcels will make up the necessary percentage required for Public Open Space pursuant to the current Planning and Development Law for his sub-division of the Yacht Club,


      1. The Crown Jewel Property will remain under the sole benefit to Dart in title as it is necessary to create Public Open Spaces for sub-divisions pursuant to Planning and Development Law.


      In conclusion; the people of the Cayman Islands will not get complete, unfettered and equal benefit of said gifts contained in this ForCayman Alliance deal(s). I urge each of you to do a little research on what Mr. Dart has done in Belize when it came to some  “national treasures”  he acquired under similar initiatives. He now has sole discretion of how these various sites are utilized. Consequently he has placed strict regulations on the viewing and the use of  these sites moreover his company(ies) are the only ones authorized to tour and or use them. Is this a glimpse of what is to come for Cayman?!

  2. Annoyed and Disconnected says:

    I hope they all saw how congested Esterly Tibbetts Hwy was yesterday with the road being blocked off right in front the Marriott Hotel by Tiki Beach Bar.  That alone should prove that the one roadway will become conjested and eventually will need to have a second one.  So the purposed closure will only set us back and there can't be anything good in that FORCAYMAN!

  3. Bushwacker says:

    I supported the closure of the road until I attended the presentation given in West Bay by the ForCayman Alliance.


    Considering my ignorant perspective before the aforementioned presentation, insofar that I thought if Dart does what he did with Camana Bay, what he proposes for the Seven Mile Beach should be just as good or better. Well, that maybe true, however it does not negate the fact that this “deal” is not just or simply about the closure of that specific half mile section of the West Bay Road. It involves the swapping of large tracts of extremely valuable Crown Land not just along the Seven Mile Bach peninsula but in essence separating Barkers into two distinct sections; North and South. The North where the entire beach is situated will be given to Dart and the South where all of the Swamp is situated will be given to the Crown (the Caymanian People) in this initiative.


    I note several people commenting that these Groups should try Saving our Youth! With all the respect I can muster, I cannot communicate in any other way but to say what an oxymoronic statement. It is reasonable to assume that the many posters on this Blog have not attended and or truly invested on their own time researching the totality of this “lop-sided Deal” for themselves, but merely make comment based on hearsay and or conjecture, such as I did initially. This is a really dangerous scenario, because it is for reasons such as the aforementioned why we keep electing the same people over and over again. Yet, I note several posters supporting the closure  of West Bay Road and this overall deal are the same very ones commenting that West Bayers need to get a clue and stop voting McKeeva in because he is destroying this country.


    I leave a morsel to chew on for those of you choosing to berate these concerned Groups between now and Saturday.  Several posters herein communicate that maybe they should go to Cayman Brac, well why do think Cayman Brac is not as robust as Grand Cayman? The only true difference is we have the Seven Mile Beach. Losing this extremely valuable asset to one private individual is not sound business practice for the Caymanian People no matter how you try andreconcile it. Financial pitfalls will always come and go, therefore if we give away all of our leverage now, what bargaining chips will your/our Youth have?


    I sincerely urge all of you, generational and new Caymanians to sincerely think about what it could possibly be like for your kids and or grandkids on this island that is heavily restricted because it is the prerogative of a private individual and no recourse to do and or say anything about it. In addition, simply look at all of Mr. Dart’s current Seven Mile Beach properties; they are heavily restricted even the vacant property between the Mandalay and Anchorage Condominiums.  Could this be a glimpse of this island’s future? Remember, there is no going back with this deal. Be conscientious and prudent in these very serious and irrevocable matters, not just for you but your family and their future.   

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Thank you Bushwacker. You have said everything that is in my head that I can't seemto get on paper. 

      My biggest concern is that nobody, especially those that are posting against this group, is paying attention to what is really being done. I'm so afraid that it is a losing battle because of the uneducated numbers that are for this land trade.

      If people were paying attention rather than sticking their head in the sand and letting others make decisions for them then tomorrow would be ram packed with supporters for this cause against the road closure.

      We are so small but I WILL be there tomorrow!!





  4. Willy Yanker says:

    I thought PROGRESS was MORE THAN ONE road to West Bay!

  5. Ray says:

    As a country we should be striving for multiple routes (at least 2) into each centre of population for our future. As the East-West Arterial continues Eastwards that is what will happen and that is good. Is that not what our representatives in the early 1970's understood when they got the Gov. Harbour developer to create a section of a secondary road? Why should WB be left with only a single route? What happens one day when there is some event (e.g. a large accident) which blocks that section of the E.T. Highway? We will be no further ahead than we are today when wave action affects the W.B. Road.

    If Dart wishes to extend the E.T. Highway over their land now, rather than wait & hope that the country eventually does it, that is their choice and certainly to their enormous benefit. The future benefits to their corporation will indeed be enormous when you look at the amount of their property that will be opened up (1000's of acres??). Plus the 2500 feet of beach front property that will be created to match the hundreds of acres west of the new road – have a look at the boundary plan. Do these balance off against the country’s benefits of a short road extension and a slightly larger public beach? Besides having the new beach front is no guarantee that the remodelled hotel will even be a continuing success. See Westin issues.

    The Premier stated at the WB meeting that the Govt. intended to reduce the W.B. Road speed to 25mph by the end of this year. One does not know if that will actually happen and I presume that it depends on the new road being completed. If this speed limit is so reduced (maybe even to 15 mph in higher pedestrian sections), why is there a need to CLOSE a section of the road. The traffic on WB Road could likely drop by 90%. This would leave a nice safe tourist/shopping zone for the majority of our stay over visitors & residents – long term benefits for everyone!

    What about trying this speed reduction on the section of WB Road that now parallels the E.T. Highway? See the effects – good & bad – before doing something that cannot be reversed.

    Has there been any analysis done (& shown to the country) which outlines the values added to both sides of this proposal? Has anyone analysed the potential reduction in business traffic to the existing premises on the WB Road? Has the possibility of other closure “requests/deals” been considered once this is done for 1 developer?

    It is usually better to think a solution through and test it before taking irreversible action.

  6. Anonnymous says:

    Well, it's certainly closed today, which happens anytime we have this kind of weather.  Traffic is flowing just fine!!! I'm a West Bayer and live in West Bay and I don't see the logic of this rally/protest.  I would rather see a SAVE OUR CHILDREN rally than save a road.  If this is about one man owning too much land in Cayman,  I dare say the majority of the land was sold to this corporation by CAYMANIANS. 

    As an earlier poster said, this is not the first portion of this road that has been relocated – anybody remember when the old West Bay road ran in front of what used to be the Beach Club Colony and ran along the sea up to where the Wharf Restaurant now stands – the road was built there because it was the easiest place to build a road with the limited machinery at thattime – it was originally built with pure manpower – shovels, and picks and a tool that looked like a huge hammer and was used to pack the marl down (maybe I'm too old to remember just what it was called)    🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    I say let DART have it! Because when his guest see dem big waves starting crashing up against their room window like dem ones I see forming out deh dis morning, i betcha den he gunna wish he listened to us! What a suppapa when deh got a big ole pile of rocks to wade tru, now dats when yah gunna hear some demands for they money back!!


  8. Support says:

    I agree that moving a road would be a good thing and the Darts hotel will help Cayman to come up even more but i still am getting the feeling that, in the end we are getting a shitty deal. We give him prime real state and in the end all we get back from it is Bush Land, where you cant even live in. What will we do with this land. The reason he is probably giving it back to us is because he knows he cant do anything with it.

    If Dart wants to invest with us why not buy the land and help up get out of this debt that the Cayman is in.

    I am also very disappointed with the Caymans that are writing these comments you all need to look at the whole story and not just the part with Dart.

    Grown up guys and look and think about what this is going to be like 5 years after it is built do you see it getting better or worst?

    I also thought that the reason behind 2 roads leading to West Bays was to cut down traffic so now that we are going back to 1 road where will that leave the people who live on that side of theisland. They will go back to not getting home until 7 maybe 8 at night.


    • Bueller says:

      In addition to the benefits the hotel will bring across the board, we get the dump taken care of and a by-pass all the way to WB (one road with 2 lanes should be able to handle twice the traffic WB Rd can), plus a bunch of other stuff IIRC. There's no question that Dart wins on this deal (he didn't get rich by making bad deals), but we do too.


      I would've preferred it if they diverted WB Rd around the hotel, kept it as one continuous road anddidn't merge it into the by-pass, but if the current deal is the best they could get, it's good enough for me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Honestly I wish people would  stop trying to compare the Cayman Islands with Singapore, Japan, United states ok the Cayman Islands are lil dots that you can hardley see on the map. The Cayman Islands DOES NOT have the resources to up hold what these other countries have to offer. I Can remember when me and family first started coming here in the late 70's for vacation it wasnt just the people that we enjoyed but the Island feel and that is no longer the case  this little Island is more americanize than what you think  and why should we come here and visit something that we can see on a daily base.

    • Anonymous says:

      go to the brac…….

      i really get sick of this argument…… if people wanted sleepy undeveloped islands thenthe brac would be a tourist hotspot…….

  10. Anonymous says:

    Land Crab Mentality…

    I guess these are the same people who didn't want the old Holiday Inn (the rickety, rat invested place that it was) pulled down and redeveloped in to the Ritz-Carlton (which won the Cayman Islands one and only award recently).

    The same people who grumble about other people's successes and continued investment in to Cayman, when no one else will.

    The same people who want to keep Cayman for Caymanian's – when every other nation understands the importance of population diversity and expansion.

    This shows how a few twisted nay-sayers can stir up a hornets nest. It's shameful.

    My advice is look around you…. what you see is a result of people wanting to invest in Cayman. The more you shun them and turn them away, the more this will deteriorate and turn bad. Crime and unemployment will rise and you will not be safe in your own homes.

    Look at Singapore as an example of how to encourage inward investment, political governance and sound economic management.



  11. Patricia X says:

    I have no idea what stretch of road they are moaning about.  There is simply no good reason to travel up there.  I am sure whatever DART are planning can only improve things.

  12. T.L. Haranguer says:

    What are those people on about ? Get out of the way of progress please, why do you all not move to the Brac if you want to live life in the slow lane, you will be more useful across there.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Finally some common sense is topping the "Comments" section.  Now, let's have the good intentions of the community action group turn their attention to issues of greater national importance….like preventing crime, addressing gang violence and helping our youth.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I've got to laugh.

    "If conditions are favorable, we're going to show everyone that we're really pissed about the road thing.  If not, Triple Crown?  Ok."

    These people have all the passion and commitment of a copy of the UK's 1999 White Paper.

    Quit wasting my time.


  15. Anonymous says:

    On my drive home tonight from work I had to say – if a hurricane  over 200 miles away can cover the West Road in sand and rocks, what if???  the closing and relocating of this section of road it a good idea and we as the people of these islands should surely be able to see it (even if  takes a act of God) that. There are far more import things to put our efforts into my friends than this type of protest…..

  16. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    Hard at work doing nothing positive or truly meaningful. Try planting some fruit trees, visit the elderly and sick, help our troubled youth, donate time to one of our many charitable organizations, read a book or have a long afternoon sleep in your hammock instead.  

    Although we've had enough rain, I certainly don't mind another "big down pour" just at the precise time on Saturday.     

  17. Anonymous says:

    save a road????? …the small minded nimbys are really scraping the bottom of the barrell

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not appreciate you calling me and thousands more of us Caymanians who want to preserve this place from greedy people and madmen like dart and big mac and like you who are licking the cream off our cake…it is our democratic right and you cant do a thing about it so…lol as much as you want we will do it on 29th and any other day we feel like and you cant stop us….you know the way out…dont let us have to show you….

      • Anonymous says:

        not sure what u are saying….. but i respect ur demonstration……. but the majority of people do not know what straw you are grasping at……..(look at the thumbs)…..


      • Anonymous says:

        cayman kind……

  18. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Caymanians for Logic…this road is not being closed, it's being relocated and improved. Any serious Norwester closes the present road, even now opposite the public beach it's covered in sand.

    The new road will be back from the sea, as well as speed our journey. So please, lets think, before we act against something which will improve all our lives.


    • Anonymous says:

      Ask these organizers how they liked the sea washing across the road from Monday night, sand and salt water. Why didn't they go out there and try to stop that from happening?

    • snap shot says:

      Did  you not see on your way into Town that not only the West Bay Road had sand and water.

      What about the road areas  such as the Burger King, Stratsville House and just above where the fishermen sell the fish were covered with rocks and other debre.These sections of the roads has a sea wall and the West Bay road in question has nothing to protedt it.  Are we going to move these sections of the road in town also.

      • Alan Nivia says:

        There is no appreciable logic whatsoever behind this post.  If there are problems with encroachments at points A, B and C, and there is a plan which will improve the situation a A, what happens to B and C don't change the fact that things will be better at A.

      • Anonymous says:

        Now that you mention it…

  19. Caymanians for logic says:

    This is pure nonsence. Our roads are only located where we could afford to build them with the showels and straw bags we had back then. That is why they are there folks. Many of the roads have already been moved. The entire South Sound road was moved. The main Seven Mile Beach road south of the Strand was moved. The Spotts straight was moved. The main road through West Bay at the 4-way stop was moved. the Cottage and Half Moon Bay road was moved. Crewe Road on both ends was moved. Old Prospect road was moved. I could go on and on. 

    The portion of WB road that is in question is hardly a 'scenic' area as for over 95% of it you cannot see the sea even today. When the land owners build there in future (and remember much of that area already has planning permission for large homes and a condo complex) it will be not be seen at all.

    This road is filled with sand at every real hurricane passing and it is just silly to stop this economic boom for political reasons. As for value for money- if Dart's hotel increases in value by that much, the land behind the current public beach will do the same, same size. That land is being given to the Cayman islands as well. Plus there is another public beach provided to the west. Do the complete equation and see for yourself.

    Please think globally and for all Caymanians before you sign this petition or go to this rally. This is one of the few deals I have seen where it is in the true interest of both parties. Dart makes lots of money and the Cayman Islands makes lots of money. Fair exchange and I hope the Government signs this as soon as possible as we need the work in this country.

    I have been to the presentations and the only reason I could hear against this alliance was politically motivated or misunderstanding of what was being presented. Lets get to work now and spend this energy on stopping crime, educating our people and dealing with all the real issues that need to be resolved to move this country forward.


    • Anonymous says:

      The individual negoiating this deal is horribly conflicted – he needs to withdraw from acting on the behalf of Gov. XXXX

      I for one, don't want to see that road closed. I enjoy the ride down to work in the morning as I gaze out to the beautiful sea that is so beautiful along that stretch.

      I would miss that, XXXXXX.

      • Anonymous says:

        You guys keep trying to make this about one individual. Thats a sign of the desperation and the politics. It is the Government negotiating this agreement, they need to hurry up and get it done for the benefit of all.

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed, get it done for the benefit of ALL not for the benefit of ONE. We shouldn't give away crown land to get this done. Dart's land will increase greatly in value because more of it is ocean front and is accessible with a new road. It's no different from another developer putting a road through and making a development. I also have concerns about:

          1) The fork in the road that just happens to go through major UDP supporters land tracts

          2) The land being given in exchange to Grace Christian Academy

          • Anonymous says:

            What if it just happened to be going through land tracts owned by non UDP supporters?  Would you be concerned about that also?

        • Anonymous says:

          Please hurry up and get it done

      • Anonymous says:

        This is a good deal for the Cayman Islands by the Government, instead of narrow minded politicians and self serving individuals talking about conflicts they should try to support the government in getting something postive like this done. What wonderful timing, they are planning a protest to save the road and mother nature decides to show them how silly they are. That sea is roaring louder than any Lion and his little cubs. We don't have the money to buy the land or build the road, and we have someone ready to do it.

        Good job Government lets get it done, and fast!!!!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Please explain exactly why this is a good deal for the Cayman Islands. Agreed, we get a new road, not an additional road, a new road. Dart gets about 50 million dollars in increased land value because all of his newly aquired land becomes ocean front. We don't get an additional public beach, we get a combination of current legal access rights to the beach. This means there are fewer places that we can legally access OUR beach. Dart does a good job with his projects but IF we close this part of WB Road we should get more in return, such as a divided 4 lane highway the whole way, including through Camana Bay. Why not ask for more? We should not have to give Crown Land away to get this "deal". Everyone would negotiate to get the best deal if this was them selling their own family land. Why should Crown Land or public roads be any different.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wouldn't you be better gazing at the traffic ahead?

    • Anonymous says:

      "Nonsence"………. "showels"………..SERIOUSLY LOL !!!!! "Caymanians for logic"…..LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It would appear that your time could be better spent working on your spelling.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its not "nonsense"…the road to East End/BT etc was literally dug out by hand after Sir Allen Cardinall took over as Commissioner. and instigated a road building program between 1935 and the 1940's and there were a lot of problems from nimbys back then.