Blasting plans raise concern

| 03/06/2013

l (263x300).jpg(CNS): Residents in the South Sound area are once again raising environmental concerns about development in the area, having learned that blasting that is set to take place to create inland lakes as part of a new residential project. Residents in the old Crewe Road area have been informed in a letter from a company called Apec Consultants that the developers of the project, RC Estates, had instructed them to do a structural survey of homes in the area in preparation for the blasting. Having received no notice from any government authorities about the proposal and with no details on where or how deep the blasting would be or what mitigation would be employed to protect the properties affected, residents are concerned about their homes as well as the environmental impact to the community.

One resident told CNS that the report they received from Apec was simply a summary of a number of cracks around their property, with no indications of what that meant or what precautions would be taken to prevent any dynamic effects the blasting may have on their home.  As a result, the resident hired an independent surveyor to provide advice as tothe possible ramifications the blasting might have on their home and were warned that the anticipated blasting, depending on the proximity and other variants, could have a compromising effect on the existing house foundation and the walls.

The potential blasting relates to the adapted Emerald Sound project, which has caused controversy for several years now in the neighbourhood, with objections to the original plans to dredge canals from the site to the ocean and move the road, and to the reclamation of land on the ocean front part of the development in the residential seaside community. While the Emerald Sound project is under appeal, the developer has moved on to alternative plans for the land and now wishes to develop a subdivision with two very deep lakes.

Although the residents in the area are in agreement that this project is a more acceptable alternative to the original Emerald Sound proposal, the depth of lakes and the continued proposal to relocate the South Sound Road, which has been tentatively approved by the Central Planning Authority, is still raising concerns and the blasting of the lakes has also raised a number of issues.

Residents in the area continue to oppose the road move, which still requires National Roads Authority approval, and as the primary proposal for the Emerald Sound project is still under appeal, residents believe the altered Adagio Plan should not be approved yet.

Government departments, including the planning department, the Water Authority and the Department of Environment, have all objected to the depths of the proposed lakes, which are set to be 35 feet, for various reasons, which were recorded at recent planning meeting. They had recommended limiting the lake depths to the standard 14 to 20 feet. The CPA had approved the application with lake depths to 30 feet but had originally imposed the condition that fill could not be moved offsite to prevent the sub-division plan becoming a quarry. 

However, an application has been made by the developers to have that condition removed, which will lead to the creation of a quarry in the heart of the residential community. Residents are hoping that, at the very least, they can still get the depths of the lakes reduced and have the developer take precautions before they start blasting to protect all of the properties which may be at risk.

See details and concerns set out in Planning meeting from 29 February last year here on pages 10-34.

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (42)

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  1. Retired Blaster says:

    The concerns should be minimal if a qualified blaster is conducting the detonations. Buildings and structures more than 50 meters away should not experience any cracking from a blast operation if conducted properly. The key word is Properly! Improper blasting can lead to subtle damage, cracks and other issues.



  2. Anonymous says:

    Concrete in-ground swimming pools and septic tanks are at the greatest risk of cracking.  Are those included in the survey?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Read the minutes in the attachment…. Planning is NOT recommending that this project go ahead.  That's really all the power they have….

    • Anonymous says:

      To clarify your point:

      Department of Planning – civil servants / planning experts –  recommended against it (along with DoE, Water Authority)


      Central Planning Authority – politically appointed board of mostly heavy equipment and construction firm owners and – approved it anyway

  4. Anonymous says:

    Need to check with planning what depth is the maximum for lakes. There has been digging in The Lakes, SS, for months!!!! As this rate they will soon reach China!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not blasting in the Lakes. They blasted a few years ago. They are only digging out more of the fill that they were previously approved to remove from the lake – as far as I understand. 

      • Anonymous says:

        There was a more recent planning application, by the developer, who is on the planning board. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The lake at the rear of The Lakes is no more than 20 feet deep and that is only around the edges. Get your facts right please. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    The so called Planning Authority is the biggest joke of a board ever elected. They approve every application put before them – do an FOI and check the statistics.  Also look at how many approvals have been granted in the face of strong objections.

  6. Kato says:

    A question to the developers, why would you want a 35 foot lake? Are you planning to sail boats in them, or the ultimate plan is to open the lakes up to the sea?

    Man this conservation law can’t be passed fast enough. There’s not going to be nothing left in Cayman for generations to come. Only iguanas and chickens.

    • Anonymous says:

      And mosquitos…….these "lakes" will be nothing more than mosquito breeding grounds.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CNS- one correction: I understand that the application to remove fill from the site was not to "create a quarry in the heart of the residential community" but merely to move SOME of the material across the street to their other property.

    They probably requested that small change to be more than compliant with the regulations. However I am sure that is better for everyone than hundreds of dump trucks rolling in from Bodden Town each day.

    • Anonymous says:

      RC Estates/JR Holdings, 

      Nice try. 

      However do you really expect us the public to believe your gentle take on this after years of elaborate deceptive schemes and underhanded tactics (like dumping fill in the Sound (CROWN LAND) when you knew well that the erroneous CPA application was under appeal).

      In 2012 residents who attended requested that no fill was to leave the site (see the minutes of the meeting in the link above). So did ALL the Government Agencies 'if aggregate leaves the development site, the excavation is deemed to be a quarry, under the terms of the Central Planning Authority’s Aggregate Policy (July, 2004).'. See below for more. 

      JR Holdings (Hislops) asked for these ridiclously huge/deep lakes to fill the same landside site and conveniently did not specificy the fill requirements for the site (see DoE comments in the link). 

      The CPA approves Adagio, as they are required to do, with the condition that no fill leaves the site. 

      Developer goes back a year later and What a shock! We have too much fill for the landside therefore let us take the extra fill across the road to fill the seaside parcels – yes the same ones that we and our spokesperson have been so adamant about being unrelated 'the seaside lots are not part of Emerald Sound / Adagio …. were are not moving the road to make the seaside lots bigger …. we are not blasting out a lake to quarry fill for the seaside lots etc'

       From the CPA minutes:

      The proposal incorporates one 35 ft deep lake and one 30 ft deep lake, covering approximately 850,530 sq ft (19.5 acres), yielding approximately 1,067,054 cubic yards of fill. The applicant has not provided details of the volume of material required to fill the proposed subdivision parcels and it is therefore unclear whether there will be a surplus or deficit of fill material arising from the proposed excavation. This requires resolution prior to determination of the application – if aggregate leaves the development site, the excavation is deemed to be a quarry, under the terms of the Central Planning Authority’s Aggregate Policy (July, 2004). Furthermore, the application site is located in an area identified in this Policy as being ‘Sensitive Area 2’, which is characterized by primary mangrove forest with a high degree of biodiversity. Within this Area, the Policy stipulates that “the siting of quarries…is discouraged, and consideration of such usage should trigger a more stringent review including environmental impact assessments”. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure Mr Hislop has designed those lakes so he complies with all the blasting regulations and guidelines. The plans I saw show those lakes in the middle and definately more than 500 feet away from the closest house-some might be double that. Just more whining from the penny section.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reply to I'm sure Mr. Hislop has….

      One question for you..Would you like this blasting and development 500 feet from your


  9. Anonymous says:

    First they did not want Mr. Hislop to develop Emerald Sound which had a small canal entrance into the sound… they dont want him to develop Adagio which is not connected to the sea. These folks just object to everything…

    I have an idea– why dont you all pool and buy the land from the man- you wealthy objectors can afford that!…BTW if you do I want half of the commission. Put up dollars or shut up. Cant have your cake and eat it too.


    • Anonymous says:

      How about you read the article. 

      They are not objecting to Adagio they are simply requesting that the developer have the decency to take adequate mitigation measures to ensure that blasting does not damage homes in the area and properly inform residents about the nature of the blasting!

      And also for the developer and the authorities to consider whether blasting is really appropriate? Or is blasting on the scale requested needed?  The lakes are a total of 19.5 acres! For comparison I think the lake in The Lakes is less than 2 acres. Someone correct me if I am wrong. It only looks like a few house lots in size. 19.5 acre lake is massive!

      Seeing as though this fill is going to go across the road to fill the seaside lots – do they now really need that much fill?

      There are serious doubts (on the marl road) that the developer has the finances to do the whole Adagio development (very expensive to fill 88 acres). He will probably just take out fill for the seaside and then abandon the Adagio development. Yes it will be tougher digging to get the fill out without blasting – however is it fair to risk damage to dozens of neighboring homes so that the developer can get his fill cheap?

      Thats what this is all about – if you ask for my common sense analysis of the epic ordeal. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    So many people talking like they ar the only ones who know anything.  Do what you want and let others do what they want.  From where I sit it does not look like many people built with any concern toward others or even drainage and storm survivability.   Why would anyone listen to you tell them how to build anything?  I would listen to a Dart person before I would trust a local.  Can you even see the difference in Quality?  And I hope the Government sacks the whole civil service and starts over.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Truly, empty barrels make the most noise! And hypocrisy is truly our national religion.
    Maybe some you scaremongerers and development bashers ought to do a little research of your own or ask a blasting expert about how little ground vibration a modern timed blast generates. And the bang? OMG, the loud BANG.!! At a required maximum of 133db at 500 ft, that’s much less than one large firework. And certainly less than a loud clap of thunder.
    And I really don’t get the seeming intrinsic value of land in south sound. Whats with that? is it because of all of the great people that live there? Because I remember when that area was just one big swamp until Benson, Walker and them dredged up half of south sound to fill all of that land that some of you live on, yet it’s somehow holy ground? Seriously, Give it a break, especially you all that have husbands and fathers and grandfathers that benefitted directly from dredging South Sound. Your vitriolic diatribes about save mangroves and proscribing canals won’t absolve your forebears of their sins. Just give it a rest. We are all sick of hearing the whining and the winging about how Rene is destroying south sound. Last time I checked, he was a long term resident of south sound with a humongous investment in the area, so he would have to be a real idiot to destroy the amenity of that area, and I think we can all know that he’s not an idiot.
    And the best of all is the refernce to a natural water lens in South Sound?? Seriously, Peter?? Where is that?!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    the hypocrisy in south sound never ceases to amaze me.  South Sound has had blasting all around this project over the last decade;  to name a few – – – lakes at south sound, lakeland villas, Grand Harbour, i guess it's just because a local is doing it this time that everyone cries foul!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the Ritz and Camana bay…

      • Knot Sir Prysed says:

        They probably would have included those if they were in South Sound…  Last I checked they were not…

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it big boom boom mac and his TNT?

    • SSM345 says:

      I recall a story or seeing plans that they were also going to block off that stretch of the road and divert the traffic i.e from the south sound doc to grand harbour roundabout, much like the  West Bay issue…….

      Is that still the eventual plan also?


  13. Anonymous says:

    If the CPA and the Board members of same give permission for this blasting they should be held personally responsible for damages to homes. They need to be held personally accountable as well as the developer for damages. For far too long board members don't have to worry about their harmful decisions and CPA board members let their developer friends dictate to them but I don't understand WHY XXXX. PLEASE to the Powers that Be, make sure that people's homes are kept safe and sound with minimal safe blasting and with ZERO blasted material allowed to be removed from the site.

    • Anonymous says:

      CPA does not give permission for blasting. They merely give permission for land use! Different group and they do have guidelines.

  14. Peter Milburn says:

    This does not surprise me.Is this about the" Almighty Dollar "?The beat goes on and who knows what damage this may do to surrounding foundations on homes etc.Possibly interupt the natural water lense?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Residents in the area adjacent to the development will also need to consider any flooding this new development will cause as no doubt it will be substantially evaluated above the surrounding properties.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes no doubt the substantially raised lakes will cause flooding.  Wow why didn't anyone at planning catch this?  You could totally work there!

      • Anonymous says:

        They didn't say the lakes were raised, they said the development is. Check out a cross-section of the development compared to Bel Air Drive. 

  16. Anonymous says:

    blasting to create lakes ???????

    BS… this will be a canal development

    i am 100% sure !  SS residents beware !!

    • Anonymous says:

      Your sure because of your lack of education?  100%? 

      • Anonymouse says:

        Anonymous 21:08

        I think your edumacation might be the one in question here.

        'Your sure' should read 'you're sure' .. dingdong!  100% a conjunction, eh!


        You can tell that it is the same person with the snotty sarcastic replies to several of these. Wonder who that is…. Doh!



  17. Anonymous says:

    35 ft deep lakes? Is this so once the developer has ruined the reef, people can dive in their own back yard? This is just to get & sell the fill; or use it when they want to reclaim their perceived land from the sea. And who wants a mozzie breeding lake near their homes?

    Do any of the companies that Blast here have experts doing so, or just a guy who has done it before, possibly? When your home get cracks to the floor tiles/slab & sink holes appear, get your lawyer on to developers.


  18. chris says:

    Now this is the height of utter madness! This is all a pre-empting the next application for dredging canals in from south sound to connect these lakes to the sea. Did we learn nothing at all from Hurricane Ivan? Or is our greed invecting us with the disease of Willfull Blindness? Why in the world would planning even entertain an application for the creation of lakes using the method of blasting? 99 percent of the man made lakes in Cayman are excavated without any potential damage to surrounding homes. This is totally unfair to surrounding home owners and RC Realty should be made to pay for cracks and other inevitable damage to homes as a result of the blasting.

  19. Unison says:

    I too am concern because one last earthquake we had was nearest to the South Sound side of the island, and it created huge hole in Windsor Park. The south side area of George Town was also where the eye of hurricane Ivan came nearest to the island. And some time ago we had a little tremor and near to that mansion in South Sound there was a huge sinkhole behind some apartments. I think to start shaking the earth around that area by dynamite blasting without an environmental assessment would be foolish. The whole of the southern end of George Town, less than a mile out to sea is a drop off into the Cayman' thousand feet trench. Blasting anywhere near that area may trigger something we wouldnt want. Sorry for being an alarmist and pessimist, but I think the residents of George Town who lived in south side of town long enough, know that the area had a history of sinkholes.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Unison,  dont  be so stupid or at least do not display it for all to see. Stupid and irrelevant comments.

  20. Anonymous says:

    what benifit will a 30 foot lake have? Why do people contuine to delevop this island….. leave it alone. What bothers me the most is this is being done by locals….. give it up Rene Hislop

    • Anonymous says:

      a man has the right to develop his land…I'm sure you would have concern if I said you should not have developed where you now should have left it alone!!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    How do South Sounders feel about a quarry in thier backyard?!!




    This man has no shame. 


    And I hope the new Government sacks the whole entire Central Planning Authority!