No research on landfill move

| 19/12/2011

GTLF 1(2)_2.jpg(CNS): In a preliminary response to a freedom of information request the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has revealed that no reports, studies or research has been carried out by the department relating to the relocation of the George Town landfill. Responding to a request made by the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free relating to proposals and reports about moving the dump, the department’s information manager explained that all of the work done by the DEH related to waste-management at the existing location. Since the group formed to oppose the moving of the landfill to Bodden Town, it has been searching for information to support the government’s decision.

Vincent Frederick, one of the leaders of the coalition, filed the open records request on 1 December asking for “any studies, reports, correspondence, emails, memorandums” relating to the “selection of a suitable alternative location for the George Town landfill”, the “selection of the proposed Bodden Town location for the new landfill” and “proposals for the Bodden Town landfill”. 

In her reply of 13 December the DEH information manager explained that the department did not have the records that Frederick was seeking.

“There has been no studies or reports conducted by DEH concerning an alternative site for the GT landfill. The majority of reports or studies conducted focused on better waste management practices at the GT landfill and future waste management options for the Cayman Islands,” the IM responded. “No request for proposals (RFP’s) have been advertised by DEH concerning locating an alternative site or using Bodden Town as an alternative landfill site.”

The manager told the applicants that she still needed to determine if there were other records at the ministry or if the records being requested could be held by the Office of the Premier, because moving the George Town landfill to Bodden Town was a decision made by the premier, but the DEH held no relevant records.

Frederick said this seemed to indicate that the decision to relocate the landfill so that Dart could develop a residential project adjacent to the dump was a personal decision by the country’s premier, McKeeva Bush, without any studies, reports, explanation, consultation with the population of Bodden Town, and without any request for proposals from anyone.

In the wake of the revelations by the DEH, Frederick asked if Dart was the only party consulted, with no consideration at all of the consequences for the people of the district — a question that has not yet been answered.  “This is incredible. This is a travesty of good governance, of environmental awareness, and representation of the people’s interests and safety,” he said.

Several other concerns have been raised by residents of Bodden Town but remain unanswered, and the coalition has filed further FOI requests in its search for answers to the questions as it waits on a promised meeting with the district's two government MLAs, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour.

Frederick said the residents of the district are questioning if an Environmental Impact Assessment ever been conducted for the site, if its vulnerability to hurricanes has been assessed, why government ditched its deal for a waste-to-energy facility at the George Town landfill, how the  Midland Acres site was selected and why government has adopted the Dart proposal to relocate the dump after the technical committee and subsequently the Central Tenders Committee rejected it because of “concerns about the potential environmental impact” of relocating the landfill in the central wetlands area.

The proposed relocation of the landfill is part of a deal government is currently renegotiating with the islands' biggest developer, the Dart Group. The developer has proposed swapping land it owns in the Midland Acres area for the existing GT landfill, which is crown land. Dart has said it will then cap and remediate the existing landfill and pay for the development of what it said will be a modern “eco-waste park” and covered landfill and recycling centre.

Category: FOI

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Two years ago on a flight from Cayman I sat beside an enviromental researcher contracted by the CI government to research the environmental impact etc. regarding mt. trashmore but that report is probably sitting under somebody's fried chicken meal at the govt. office….

  2. B. L. Ingham says:

    Another week and another embarassing example of "good goverance" and Civil Servants hard at work!

    Doesnt the Minister responsible for this project (Deputy Premier – she's apparently a lawyer) and her Principal Secretary who was the primary representative of the Ministry and the other 'negotiators' including "Minister without Portfolio" MLA Cline Glidden  who represented the CI govt owe the general public a full explaination?

    Remember the For Cayman Investment Alliance is supposed to be good for all Caymanians. However this govt decided to give away the most important componet  and bargaining chip to DART thanks to his privately funded W.I.S.E group. Once again your govt has worked in the best interests of "them" instead of "you"!!!

    Sadly, this is typical of the current administration who habitually seek the information and key data after the deal as been "negotiated" and the terms have been agreed upon by the Developer. Is that what is meant as a true description of a "Better Way Forward"?

    Without the data and relevant regulatory and environmental reports how does this component of the FCIA  pass the FFR tests? Perhaps Governor Taylor will awaken from his afternoon nap and provide some clarity.

    Somebody owes the public Crown lands and some real answers.

    Hugs and kisses
    Henry

    • Anonymous says:

      18;01

      Apparently , you havent been in Cayman that long. what would be the purpose for any study on the existing dump. As far back as 1980 this dump been up for grab. i never heard of anyone wanting  it.

      Thank you Mr. Dart for addressing our dump problem.

  3. furious-btowner says:

    We'd fight relocating the dump wherever Dart and thir politicians wanted to stash it, whether Bodden Town, East End, North Side, etc.  There's no need to move the dump and contaminate another site, especially one miles away from the source of the overwhelming portion of our island's waste.  Let's get rid of Mt Trashmore the proper way, the way Govt was committed to doing it with its Wheelabrator deal.  Dart's notion of "capping" the GT landfill is ludicrous.  It won't stop the leaching into the North Sound, and would jeopardize anyone spending time around it.  It's time to say no to Dart, and to stop selling out our birthright, our safety and our environment.  Stand up Cayman!  Because it seems that those who are well paid to do the job don't have the backbone, and don't give two hoots about Bodden Towners.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mr. Frederick, McKeeva and Mr. Dart did a study and arrived at the logical conclusion that the dump should end up in Bodden Town. Primarily because they felt that they could "dump it" on the Bodden Town people with the least resistance from the people in that district than any other district in Cayman. With THAT kind of logic and with McKeeva's world renowned intelligence and Mr. Dart's world renown business acumnen what on earth could the Department of Environmental health possibly contribute towards a better decision? Money talks, Cayman, get used to it, at least until you finally decide to get rid of McKeeva Bush.

    • Profound Reality! says:

      Im guessing Govt and Dart are ignoring the fact that Bodden Town is the fastest growing district at the moment. Perhaps the fact that the district is occupied by the middle class makes it okay to gently place the countries thrash in their back yards. Where is the Bodden Town MLA's in all of this? Wake up, your voters are not happy!

       

      • Anonymous says:

        "Where is the Bodden Town MLA's in all of this?"

        You mean Macs UDP puppets?  they are right where Mac wants them.  doing his bidding not the peoples.

    • Libertarian says:

      Let us not tolerate any dogma or propaganda on the Premier's removal from office, and at the same time, omit the process on just how he could be removed. Try to include the "how" in your comments!  Just "how" will you get rid of the Premier at this time?  How can we rest assured that the PPM party (if they win the next election) will not disregard the people on national issues or major developments like how the UDP is doing now?  To switch from one party to the next, will be under the same Constitutional conditions.  What change is that?!  It is an Amended Constitution that we need now – not replacing one party for another party to dominate the country for another four years!

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is not the Constitution. It is the incumbent govt. To their credit the PPM has not shown any tendency towards dictatorial behaviour. When the people protested against the removal of the ironwood forest the PPM listened and stood down.    

        • Anonymous says:

          The problem is the Constitution because it allow the incumbent government and any other government thereafter to be incumbent. Friend, don't be so naive. Are you saying there can never be a dictator from the PPM party?  To think so, is being irrational.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I've said it once and I'll say it again – the dump should go in all that March Land in south Sound.  It's better for the environment because the trucks don't have to drive as far to dump (so less gasoline etc).

    • Anonymous says:

      That is PRECISELY why the dump is where it is now, because it was useless marsh land that needed to be filled.

      • Anonymous says:

        DUMB!!!

        The problem with marshland it that is contains water and that water carries aways all the nasty toxic stuff (arsenic, heavy metals, dioxins, etc.) from the trash and dumps them somewhere else. That's exactly why you don't landfill marshland, mangrove swamps or any other water-filled location.

        • Anonymous says:

          DUMB!!!

          All the nasty, toxic stuff goes into the ground and into the water table no matter WHERE the dump is located.

           

          • Dumber says:

            If you line the landfill correctly and carry out a proper Capping & build procedure nothing leaks out.   However you don't start is marsh land.  You start on solid ground. 

            Th leeching in to north sound is because the current landfill has not been lined.  Also it has not been "built"properly meaning trash / dirt / trash / dirt.  This will compound problems and lead to possible fires.

            Tell you what why don't we dump the iguana reserve & pop it in there – equal distance from everyone.

        • Anonymous says:

          exactly.  which is why there is bad and nasty stuff leeching into the north sound.  not good for anyone. 

  6. Truth says:

    Reliable research (off island need only apply) is only as good as the ability of the premeir person (the one and only) to interpet it. So you actually save money if you don't look for information not originating from the source and just wait and see what he will do.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Harsh reality – no one officially wants to know what is in Mt Trashmore or how much of it has leached into the ground underneath because Dart might have second thoughts.

    There's stuff in the dump that would get you good jail time if you dumped it in an open landfill in most First World countries and there are for sure materials that you do not want fuelling a WTE plant.

    How many people reading this have actually been on the site? I have and it's nasty. In one corner there used to be piles of clinical waste, including used sharps, just spread over the ground where the bags and burst. Even when Matrix set up their operation the separation protocols for toxic material like used engine, ATF and brake fluid were generally ignored and a lot of it just went into the ground.

    I think Dart's plans to clear and cap the site need some serious investigation because they don't make a heck of a lot of sense. I suspect that if the heap is shifted the ground they will find underneath will be so polluted that capping won't be an option, it will have to be removed.

    Old saying – 'For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong."

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone mentioned to me there's catalytic convertors from cars in Mt. Trashmore, one of the most highly toxic of all waste materials.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are thousands of gallons of old motor oil dumped there – that's one of the most toxic non-industrial substances you can find.

    • Anonymous says:

      Capping can slow or stop the leaching over time. WTE is your best bet to eliminate the prob for all time but is dead.

    • Anonymous says:

      They also need to check for radioactive goods.  I heard form a former dump manager that about 4 years ago there was radioactivity detected there.  I hpe this is not tru but it does need to be found out if true or not.

  8. Libertarian says:

    "There has been no studies or reports conducted by DEH concerning an alternative site for the GT landfill."  Hence, it is quite clear that the Members of the Legislative Assembly, are not concern about what the people of these islands think about policies and laws they enact, during the four years they are in power. Furthermore, not even concern about getting an expert's advice or second opinion from a reliable and fact-based source. When are people going to seethat no matter how rewarding the project will be to these islands, these politicians are setting a very bad precedent for future politicians to disregard the people and experts by legislating massive projects that will effect thousands of Caymanians and local businesses?  It shouldn't be that after people elected you that it gives you full sway to do whatever during your four years without consulting them or at least doing a survey as to how they feel and think about the implementation of a policy. People, it is time for change – not a political or party one, but a Constitutional change of "checks and balances," and that will give the people of these islands, the power to recall politicians and have a vote or say in bills or motions pertaining to massive island-wide projects or legislations of National Importance. Supreme and Soveriegn power should not be limited to 15 or 18 MLAs!  At least, people should be able to decide what goes up on their front porch or back yard. They should have a say in projects that will benefit them. For this reason, I oppose this government's action. Don't be deluded by your politicians:  It is not what this project will do to the economy that really matters in the long run, but it is "HOW" this process is being brought about that really concerns me and many others. It is a serious issue with our Constitution which was implemented under PPM's tenure, and UDP is 100% taking advantage of it's limitations. Cayman, we are in a fix if we just sit back, it distracted by a two-party system, and refuse to do nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      No matter what the topic you seem to play the same tune. Constitutional change… but don't you yet realize that they got what they wanted? In the 21st century they still evaded 1 person 1 vote, come on, figure it out.

      • Libertarian says:

        What then would you say is the solution?  The Constitution is the law of the land, and the rules of our political game. In the Constitution it can stipulate severe fines and punishment for its breaches. Forget about regulations… who can oppose a Constitution that has teeth and holds the politicians accountable?  Please don't let any politician divert you to the party system for any ray of hope. Because no matter which party is in power, these politicians will continue looking out for nobody's interest – but their own interest. What would you recommend us to do when it is theConstitution that umbrellas and trumps every other law and regulation in the Cayman Islands?

        • Anonymous says:

          My solution will anger more people than you even anger. That would be to open the voting to more people and allow for paper caymanians to run for MLA but not allow them to become premier.

          The voters are to blame, they continue to give power to the same flawed politicians. The same bunch doing the same things term after term. Open it up to voters who will not sell their votes and will require responsible goivernment.

          Then things will change.

          • Libertarian says:

            A constitutional amendment will not change the fact that people; especially, paper Caymanians, can still be sold out by local politicians. Caymanians are not in the same boat on this one! There are a host of other reasons why they vote in politicians like propaganda or personality.  

            • Anonymous says:

              But increasing the voting pool and allowing for long term paper Caymanian candidates who truly love the country will shake up the "business as usual". That is the only way that I see to break this cycle of corruption.

  9. Anonymous says:

    No research at all?  Yet without any research they feel confident telling the residents of BT erryting gine be OK??

    Where da petition?  I wanna sign too.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Consistency is important. This government will continue its primary policy of Fire, Ready, Aim at all costs (to the rest of us).

  11. Anonymous says:

    How can something of this magnitude ,with probable negative  enviornmental consequences even be considered   without an Enviornmental impact statement? Also how can they even consider  this type of project without the consent of the local population? Several people have said that the residents of Bodden Town have the NIMBY attitude BUT if you look closely you  see that Dart is really the one with NIMBY attitude,the dump was in GT when they purchased their land NOW they want it moved.

    Seems that someone gave Dart the keys to Grand Cayman and what Dart wants Dart gets….. no questions asked.

    • Anonymous2 says:

      Dahhhhhh .. they got consent when Bodden Towners elected them into office!  That's the law man!  Stop complaining and fussin!  You're not too smart I can see!  Go to the Uk and ask for a new drafted constitution to vote down large projects!  trust me, not one of you will support doing that!

      • Wessex, England says:

        If I was a Caymanian, I would be happy to start such a petition. What is interesting and after reading Libertarians comments, not one of the MLA pack, is pushing for realchange. Now that should tell you bird brains something about the Cayman Islands Government and the Foreign Office.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately there is a trend developing in Cayman and that seems to be every attempt by the government to improve or deal with decades old problems and the current economic slump seems to offend a segment of the community.

    The downturn of the economy has in part fostered a greater anger in the general population and this anger looks for an outlet and these various projects seem to have received the ire of many.

    So various groups have been created to obstruct projects such as moving the dump. Hopefully this project will move forward.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians by nature seem to be impossible to please. In short the Waste to Energy deal was most likely ditched because the CIG is broke and the Dart deal is being considered because it’ll cost Caymans people nothing.

     

    Here’s a though kick Dart to the curb and pay for this on your own. See how folks feel when the cost of dumping your garbage sky rockets.

     

    These Boddedtowner’s have a lot of nerve for all these years they had no problem dumping their garbage in Georgetown with no complaints of how it’s affecting the sound or the environment in that area.

     

    They need to make each district responsible for their own rubbish.

    • Anonymous says:

      The RFP called for a company to construct and manage the W2E facility.  There was no cost to CIG with the way that it was phrased so it SHOULD have come down to the best, environmentally sound long term solution and CIG SHOULD have chosen one that would have cleaned up awful mess that exists now (which is what they stated they wanted prior to Dart manipulation) – in full – not simply capping and remedating.  The company awarded the bid even had to take responsibility for any hazards that may have been in the dump.  Capping and remediating simply does not do this.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like the idea of each district having a dump site, but guess what? WB and GT individually still have more garbage that BT, NS or EE.

      BT cannot possibly have the amount of garbage that WB or GT have.

      Govt is broke because:

      1) we keep electing politicians who could not manage a chicken coop to run 3 islands.

      2) Govt keeps give the rich duty concessions and killing the middle class with duty charges.  What has happed to all the money Ritz owed to Govt.  Now I hear Dart has purchased the Ritz. Is that group going to pay the bill? HUM? Or is hell going to freeze over first?

  14. anonymous says:

    No GOVERNMENTAL DEPARTMENT RESEACH done…..I am sure research has been done however.

  15. Nimby in Hibicus Jungle says:

    Whew!!!!!! this stinks the people who built Mount Trashmore now managing it's removal have not done their homework WOW!. What a  surprise surprise! too much wheeling and dealing going on Cayman All about the money$$$$ This place is getting more corrupt by the day.