South Sound coast plans not supported by UDP

| 11/11/2011

(CNS): Plans to cut a canal through the South Sound road to link the in-land element of the Emerald Sound development to the ocean have reportedly failed to win the support of the government’s political supporters. Burns Conolly, the spokesperson for RC Estates Ltd, the Caymanian company behind the project, said Thursday that he understood government was not going to approve the coastal works licence application but that the developer had not yet received official confirmation that it would not be considered by Cabinet, as is the normal process for developments encroaching on the ocean.

Undeterred by the latest news regarding that element of the development, Conolly said the developer was still looking forward to breaking ground on the landside of the development in the near future.

The local architect said that RC Estates learned from a report in Thursday’s Caymanian Compass that the current government had made a decision not to complete the application process for the offshore excavation due to a decision by their political caucus.

“We appreciate the decision the lawmakers faced when coming to this conclusion and will wait for the official confirmation from them,” he stated. “It became increasingly difficult for the developer to counter the opposition to the project when the objectors continued down the route of misinformation. However, RC Estates remains excited about the potential this property holds and hope to break ground in the near future.”

The controversial development stirred up considerable opposition in the area over fears about the possible impact, during periods of bad weather, if a canal was cut from the Sound through to the inland element, as well as the environmental damage that would be caused. Objectors also stated that to allow such a development would cause a dangerous precedent and open the gate to the dredging of channels in other highly sensitive areas, such as the West Bay Road. The proposal to create inland canals, move the South Sound Road and create a bridge over the canal were all significant concerns to the objectors.

The campaign to fight the development fell at the planning hurdle when the inland project was given planning permission. However, the objectors had hoped to persuade government not to grant the coastal works license, a decision made by Cabinet, preventing the channel being cut through the road, which was the prime cause of the opposition. 

Speaking on behalf of the objectors, Katrina Jurn, one of the people who had spearheaded the campaign, stated that they were very pleased by the news that the coastal works license would not be approved and said common sense had prevailed in protecting this area of immense environmental and cultural significance.

“It is very encouraging that the UPD government has listened to the concerns of the thousands of Caymanians and residents who voiced their objection to the development,” she said.

The campaign had generated over 2,200 formal written objections to the development, which Jurn said made it one of, if not the most, formally objected to developments in the history of the Cayman Islands.

“Objectors' main concerns were the dredging of the Sound, cutting of canals, movement of South Sound Road and the building a bridge over the road which the development called for,” she explained. “We are confident that the petitioners will be overjoyed at this news.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

Comments (39)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if the choice of real estate company to market the property…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, there must have been some SERIOUS discussions re listing agent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope nobody is so stupid to believe that this is the full truth and the end to this soap opera!

    • Strangers in the Night says:

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? You mean to tell me that money was an issue? Maybe there was no agreement on the amount!

      • Anonymous says:

        That plus you have at least three different real estate listing agents in the mix.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This decision is good news for Cayman's environment, but would mean more if the decision was handed down through the appropriate channels.  It's a bit suspect and leaves the door open to some future appeal if and when a more amicable regime takes power.  We need to arrive at the same decisions, now and forever through appropriate policy.  If the UDP really feel that they should now protect the environment, let's see that environmental protection bill passed…  

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh don't worry, if DART says no, it's no. Go deh Mr. President ofthe Cayman Islands show 'em who BOSS.

    Young people take note. They say money can't buy you happiness, but I tell yah wha. It can by you an Island!


    • Anonymous says:

      I don't see or hear of much happiness on this island. All I seem to hear is people attacking other people because they don't agree.

      It would surprise me if Dart really cared much about the Emerald Sound development.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What if this change of mind in regard to the Emerald Sound project was based upon the even bigger project of turning south sound into a cruise ship terminal?

    It would be ironic if the south sound voices that rail roaded the Emerald Sound development only to have an even bigger and more invasive project to be built in their back yard.

    I agree with the ship captains who  have put this idea forward and believe that it will limit potential downside to a single area. There is too much risk to 7 mile beach andspending 100s of millions toward a dock that is not useable full time makes no sense. The additional concern of what dredging would do to the sand movement along 7 mile beach is another concern of mine.

    The damage in this project would be limited to one area and although it is a sacrifice it is necessary for the betterment of the country.

    I understand the South Sound voices will attack me for this opinion but the country as a whole needs to make the decision not just the loud voices of South Sound.

    This country needs to make these tough decisions and instead of personal attacks I would appreciate explanations of disagreement.

  6. Anonymous says:

    My BIG questions of the day are:


    How can ALT publicly endorse one developer DART/For Cayman Alliance and remain as Chairman of the CPA? This seems to automatically mean that anything coming thru for the FCA is going to be passed by CPA or is "pre-approved" by the Chairman of CPA.


    Also, is ALT going to publicly endorse any otehr developments while he is also Chairman of the CPA?

    • Cherry Picker says:

      Stop looking trouble! This article doesn't mention ALT or the CPA or even the DART/For Cayman Alliance. Perhaps you have inside knowledge or an outside source?!

    • Knot S Smart says:

      So are you trying to say that it isa 'major' Conflict of Interest if the 'major' construction materials supplier, is also the head of a Govt board that approves 'major' construction projects, and then he publicly endorses a 'major' developer for a 'major' construction project?

      What on God's earth would make you think that this is a 'major' conflict of interest?

      • Anonymous says:

        Sir, don't you know that this country is becomming a Republic of Banana.

    • Anonomous says:

      As the For Cayman Alliance agreement is NOT a decision of Central Planning Authority or even planning there IS no conflict here. Think before you blog or if you thought stop trying to cause trouble. It’s your livelihood also.

      Dart kept over 1500 people employed from 2005-2009. In that period not one other major development started. If he was not here we would have been in recession long before now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don't the proposed development(s) in the FCA fall under the remit of CPA?


        As for the 1500 ppl, my thanks. How can we get more into work without taking extremes like closing our roads?

  7. Anonymous says:

    OH please!!! The only reason why UDP don't support it is because election is coming up and they want to get voted back in.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You REAP what You SOW!

    The developer got what he deserved when he tried to railroad the system by convincing Planning to put the project on the agenda BEFORE the Coastal License was granted, which had never happened before, was a breach of the guidelines given Planning and a ground for appeal…

    It's like putting the cart before the horses…

    Perhaps, a Planning officer can now explain to us how that happened. If not, an official enquiry should take place to find out what pressures were applied by whom in order to get on the agenda…  

    Then, without even waiting for the grantal of the Coastal license, the developer arrogantly applied to NRA to take over OUR South Sound road in exchange for a similar sized piece of swamp, thus increasing the depth of his shallow seafront lots and adding many millions to their value…

    The developer got what he deserved and the thousands of objectors who spent a great deal of time and money to fight this unwelcomed scheme ultimately won the day!…




    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      For clarity, the guidelines for Coastal Works permission before landside approval is only applicable where there is a MANGROVE BUFFER or STORM buffer. 


      Neither buffer zone exists outside the North Sound, anywhere in the Cayman Islands. In fact Little Cayman and Cayman Brac does not even have planning zones of any kind. 


      As it stands, Emerald Sound has full planning permission for all works landside of its coastal boundaries. The developer can proceed with all works onshore therefore. The Government's apparent decision only halts the excavation in the sound.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If CNS will allow it, I would like to repeat Burn's statement as published in the Compass.

    Contacted for a response, Emerald Sound’s chief architect Burns Conolly said, “No comment. Other than I do realise elections are upcoming. End of comment.”

    As someone who is opposed to the dredging I am very concerned that the project was not denied, but instead put on hold. I have no doubt that this project, and many others, will be given a green light if the backers are willing to put up sufficient funds to guarantee the election of enough people who see no wrong in performing political favours for money.

    It's sad but true that in Cayman if you have enough money you can get whatever you want. I can only hope that, as we can see happening in Turks and Caicos, these people also get what they deserve.


  10. Da CUC Legacy says:

    What a bii%*@ lick for somebodeeeee, Feel the heat in ya draws seat and as the song goes somebody done somebody wrong some simple put Tooo darn greedy tooo darn greedy .Some people same to think they have the right to do as they like to Cayman all the time.

  11. Anonymous says:

    the developer should demand a written explanation from the government….. and then proceed to sue them!….what is the point of having a planning board????

    • Anonymous says:

      This stinks. Burns is UDP. If I am not mistaken so is the developer.

      Lets go back a couple weeks.

      Emerald Sound is going ahead.

      Cayman's sea Captains declare South Sound as the best sopt for a cruise bertingfacility.

      Mac goes to China to discuss amongst "other things" the development of a cruise berthiing facility with CHEC.

      Mac returns, Emerald Sound is put on HOLD.

      MOU's are due to expire.



      • Burns Conolly AIA says:


        Just for the record, I am not a member of the UDP or PPM and have never been a member of either. In fact, to date neither party has even asked me if I would consider becoming a member. If I were UDP it would not be logical that the UDP government would reject 'my' project based on your narrow thought pattern, surely.


        In my election run, I never mentioned those 6 party letters once. I did not mention those parties as a supporter of either nor as an objector. There are positions of both 'groups' that I support and that is how it should be until both mature to have an identifiable philosophical position.


        After the last 4 elections I wrote all the governments offering my expertise and service. You can ask PPM that and you can ask UDP that. Both sets of Ministers, in 2005 and in 2009, responded to me.  And before that the politicians of the day did as well. This is what we all should do instead of every four years breaking down what the other person has done, writing silly blogs and being a continuously negative drain on society.


        We Caymanians should really consider thinking of Country first. Not one "tribe" or the other.  I have seen this flag-waving scenario destroy many Caribbean countries and it is becoming a problem here.


        Just because one party suggests something should mean that itis automatically rejected by the other party. It makes no sense for 32,000 people to split up our limited resources/expertise into a couple of "tribes" and fight and therefore not achieve anything for anyone. That is how the colonial rule worked and controlled many countries, as you can see from history.


        Lets take this country forward. We have a great base to work from.


        As for the cruise port reference, Red Bay is superior technically for the port. That's obvious to anyone that looks at the points. The Sea Captains have said they do not care who builds it nor owns it. In fact, they suggest that the current MoU with CHEC is used to execute it so not sure where you were going with those last comments. see "" for the relevant information.

    • R.U. Kidden says:

      Are you some kind of nut???

  12. Pam :)) says:

    Good news!  The critics will try to make this into a PPM – UDP thing, but no matter the party, I am on the people's side on this one. Cayman does not need dredging and destruction of its shoreline.  Over 2200people oppose it. The people of South Sound have spoken – LISTEN TO THEM. THAT IS DEMOCRACY.

    • anonymous says:

      The dredging downtown will be 148 times the volume of that proposed south sound. It will likely kill cheeseburger reef, Eden rock and has potential for disrupting the seven mile beach. It will destroy the CALI wreck habitat and end snorkeling In the region. As the ships are closer to shore the new port ENDS recreational uses in hog Sty bay. More material will be removed in GT the first two days of dredging than in the entire south sound project.

      If Emerald Sound was about the ENVIRONMENT where are the objectors to the cruise port downtown???

      Think folks and don’t be used.

      • Anonymous says:

        where are you getting your information from?

      • Anonymous says:

        This is absolute wrong and total fabrication of gross missinformation.

        GT has 1/80th of the dredging or Emeral Port in South Sound.

        • Huh? says:

          Did Economics & Statistic Dept provide this?  Where are you getting the bologne from?  I'd rather them dredge South Sound (where you can hardly find a conch) than 7 Mile Beach!!!!  We can't risk that beauty for anything!!

  13. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    Very interesting that the developer would come this far and get railroaded like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d call that the result of political scaremongering!

    • Anonymous says:

      Its his own fault.


      The people of South Sound and Cayman have made thier strong objection to this development clearly known time and time again. Year after year. If this developer was a gentleman  he would have been moved by these people's pleas to not have thier community drastically altered for the worse (or at least realise its in his long term interest and in the interest of his reputation to not so deeply upset so many people in his own community) – and have adjusted his plan  ie develop the land without canals, a bridge, dredging or moving road the road.  



      He also tried to circumvent policy and procedure by pushing the CPA to hear his application before the Coastal Works License was heard by Cabinet – in order to pressure Cabinet to approve the CWL. This is in any case what seems to have been the strategy. There is a long standing policy that CWL is considered before CPA consideration. This was the FIRST case ever where the CPA decided before Cabinet had conisdered the CWL. 


      I am proud of our Government for still making the right decision! (Note: This may be the first time I have been proud of them. Not a UDP  – or PPM fan)

  14. Anonymous says:

    another step backwards for cayman…… the planning board should now resign if their decisions can overturned for unkown reasons of the udp caucuas…….

  15. C.W. says:

    It's about time they stand up for something. But I am a bit dissappointed with the elected members for George Town on the Opposition's side.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It's most disrespectful for the developer to find out from reading the newspaper rather than a simple phone call, whatever your views on the project. Whatever happened to common courtesy, UDP?