Road gazette not planned

| 10/03/2014

(CNS): The gazetting of the proposed East-West arterial extension appears to have been a random decision made without any assessment of the optimum location for the by-pass were it ever to be constructed. As concerns mount about the environmental and social impact of both a proposed $360 million development in North Side, which could include an 18 hole golf course, and the route of the road extension on which the developers say the project is dependent, the Department of Environment has confirmed that it has not yet been consulted on the proposed development, despite its size, or on the road direction and has not been able to find any evidence of consideration over its route.

“The DoE is not aware whether prior to it being gazetted in 2005, the current East-West corridor was subjected to any assessment to inform the optimal alignment of the road corridor with respect to transportation needs, impacts on established protected areas and the natural environment, or any other relevant considerations,” the director told CNS in response to enquiries about the environmental threats.

The gazetted road is currently set to go through not just important pristine habitat and wetlands but land owned by the National Trust, including the culturally and historically significant Mastic Reserve and Trail. Were it to stay on its currently proposed path, which appears to be an unplanned route, it would also cut through the reserve where the Trust has worked tirelessly to bring the country’s iconic blue iguana back from the brink of extinction.

With concerns that there is nothing to indicate that any kind of assessment or consideration has ever been given to the gazetted route, DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said her department “strongly recommends” that before anything further happens the location has to be reconsidered.

“Before any further undertakings or approvals are given with respect to the road corridor the necessary assessments must be carried out so that the precise location of the road corridor can be rationalised,” the director stated. “Under the National Conservation Law (NCL) the National Roads authority (NRA) would be obligated to consult with the National Conservation Council prior to taking any further decisions on the road corridor and we are hopeful that this consultation will take place with the DoE even if on-going efforts to fully implement the NCL have not yet been completed.”

Following the signing of an MOU with the government and the developers over a potential public-private partnership, where they developers would pay for the $40 million road and recoup their investment in duty waivers, public concerns were heightened.

People are concerned about the cost of the road project, which would still be borne by the public purse in the long run, and the potential wider threats from the development including its proximity to the Botanic Park and the threat to the area’s water lens.

“While we understand that the proposed development will comprise a golf course as well as commercial and residential development, the DoE has not yet been provided with a master plan for the development which would confirm the precise nature and location of the various aspects of the proposed development scheme,” Ebanks-Petrie said.

“This makes it difficult to offer specific comments on potential impacts. However, given the location, scale and scope of the proposal the DoE would recommend that an EIA be undertaken to clarify the nature of the potential environmental impacts arising from the development in order to provide decision-makers with all the relevant information before any approvals are given,” she added.

Despite the size and the government heralding the proposed development as the sort of project that Cayman needs, especially in the eastern districts, the DoE confirmed that so far it has not been asked to provide any advice to Cabinet on any of the issues.

The development is likely to straddle the districts of both North Side and East End should it become the full mixed use community as described by the developers over the next thirty years. Even so, neither of the local representatives have been consulted or given any information about the proposed plans, nor have the MLAs seen the MOU.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller told CNS that it was a discourtesy that neither government or the developers had involved either himself or East End MLA Arden McLean as it was evident were this project to go ahead it would have a significant impact on the land and lives of the people they represent.

CNS requested a copy of the MOU but emails sent to government remain unanswered.

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Comments (50)

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  1. Anon says:

    It seems to me that every time we have an opportunity for large developments or projects the criticism mounts rapidly. (the hospital, dart hotel, caymana bay, the dump etc)  These projects are certainlty beneficial to the island in terms of increasing business activity for years to come. 

    however, in order to determine the overall net benefit of each project an analysis must be done to detmermine the drawbacks.  An EIA would allow us to do so from an environmental perspective.  As to the road, I am sure it can be built to mitigate impact on the surrounding environment or any historical sites while providing satisfactory access to the development.  Let's carry out an analysis of the area and detemine the most desirable location of the road.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There is simply no market for $280,000 house lots in the Midland East. Nor is the location vaiable as a resort. Island golf courses require ocean views, unless sited on hillsides.

    This project is a spreculative pipe dream at best and, at worst, nothing more than a quarry in disguise. Like that thing out front of the Shetty Hospital that was proposed as a harbour and is still being excavated.

    And, if you are going to quarry, it makes sense to have a nice road built for you by the taxpayers.

    Remember the MC Restoration scandal people. Remember.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    If the road was gazetted in 2005, wouldn't that have been under the PPM administration?

    If yes, then PPM carrying out what they started, need to finish 'projects' they started.

    If no, and road gazetted under UDP/CDP then once again the PPM seems to simply be carrying out what their opposition started.

    So, either way we appear to be stuck with the same policies and may have no choice…until election day IF we're willing to let go of having UDP/CDP or PPM/C4C in power.

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    The UDP govt gazetted the road in 2004/2005.Who was the road engineer at the time? 

  5. Turtle Stew says:

    So we gave Dart the west bay corridor and he built Camana Bay and all the local businesses in George Town dried up. Now we want a second Camana Bay in the eastern district  at the expense of  the envorinment  so you can place the final nail in the coffin for businesses in Georgetown. For a island this small do we really need all of these mega projects?

    i thought the shetty hospital would have patients by thousands coming by air and boats by now. Where are they mr. Concessions give away government? The way I see it, only a few people benefits from these projects and not the community on a whole. Remember the boys with fancy Hummers, Ferraris and Corvettes who benefited from the For Alliance deal?  This is going to be the same deal just under a different administration. A pile of Hog wash I say! 

    • Anonymous says:

      No one gave Dart the West Bay corridor, he purchased private property at market rates, property that was owned by Caymanians. Georgetown dried up because people running businesses got tired of renting outdated and dilapidated office space that was not well maintained which was also owned by Caymanians. If there are nails in the any coffin Caymanians drove the first ones in themselves when they started selling their family land, started feeling entitled and started wanting something for nothing. As far as the Shetty Hospital goes, it just opened up only a few weeks ago so your complaint about not seeing patients fly in by the thousands doesn’t hold any ground, you’re just looking for things to B!&%H about because no one is putting money in your hand or giving you a handout which is something that beginning to seem like Cayman Culture and the reason why your own island is owned mostly by foreigners.

      • Anonymous says:

        What I got sick of about downtown George Town was driving around for half an hour trying to find a place to park, then having to walk in the hot sun to get to my appointment. No way in hell would I ever do that if any viable alternative was available.  Thankfully, Dart offered an alternative. Do bear in mind that Caymanians could have done the same thing at any point in time.  But they did not. Now people are crying foul because a forward thinking foreigner offered quality commercial and office space in a well-planned development. 

        Time for Government to get with it and move the LA and courts to Caymana Bay. Make Caymana Bay the new capital of the Cayman Islands. "Caymana Bay" sounds a lot more Caribbean and modern, and a whole lot less colonialistic and dog-eared than "George Town".

      • Anonymous says:
         
         
        • Anonymous says:

          If you sell me your land, then yes I am more entitled to it than you. You're the idiots that sold out your family land to the highest bidder and still think that you're entitled to it…Enjoy that fancy car you traded for your forfathers property..

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, who would want another Camana Bay in the eastern districts?  All that construction and crummy construction jobs.  All those crummy restaurants and stores selling things people want.  All those jobs and people generating economic activity, all that well-manicured foilage and those well-off residents spending their money.

      The eastern districts have always been over-grown, ramshackle and impoverished.  Let's fight to keep it that way.

      What do we want?!  No jobs in East End!

      When do we want it?!  Now!

      Now all we need to do is get rid of that rubbish hospital we said would never happen.  It's a blight on the landscape and one beacon of economic activity is too many.  All those East Enders employed for the last year could have got by just fine on government handouts and the proceeds of petty crime.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please stop disrespecting the eastern districts and the people who live in them.Just because you prefer asphalt and concrete does not mean that everyone else has to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes 19.25..Camana Bay is terrible, isn't it? Never gets any tourists! Are you mad, the tourists love it and so do most normal people.

      A minor technical point, I understood Shetty was still being fitted out, so err, technically not working yet…but if you want to send patience you go ahead, I am sure the guys there will fill all their holes and paint them over real good, come out lookin' better than new!

      You want one of those fancy cars boy, get in the right line and wait your turn. I was in the wrong line for the last lot too.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you sit on your ass as usual , then it will be like the last administration!

      You guys talk too much. Get up and do something for your people and yourself. Call a meeting with the leader and immigration, tell them no way in hell, they are going to let in more builders into this country. I bet you, you cant do that!

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is an easy solution and the PPM know it.  The East-West Corridor was scratched out by the UDP in 2005 I think, but it isn't cast in stone.  It is simple to meanander it around the Mastic Trail by coming just south of it and using the current road that is now used to access the Mastic Trail.  After exiting between Burns Scott and the Fire Dept it could curve north and into the new resort.  Matter solved.  Mastic trail and National Trust property would be preserved and protected.  All is needed is the political will.  Thank you Gina and DoE and National Trust for making the public aware of the issues.  Politicians, please show that you care by protecting our environment and working to preserve it while encouraging sustainable development.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Which bunch of losers ran the country in 2005?

    • Anonymous says:

      That was the PPM my friend. Led by Tibbetts.

      • Anonymous says:
         
         
      • Anonymous says:

        Wrong. The road was gazetted shortly before the May, 2005 elections when the UDP were in power. Do your homework to avoid posting nonsense.

    • Anonymous says:
       
       
  8. Anonymous says:

    Which current and former Mla's own land in the area and stand to benefit the most from the new road? That usual drives the decision making process in Cayman.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Armed with a felt-tip pen, the back of an envelope and a map, two businessmen and a minister  came up with this road plan, from what I hear. The island deserves better than this.

    • And Another Ting says:

      That is called Progression my friend coming from a nd by a Progressive Government hahaha!

      • Anonymous says:

        I have been made to understand that this was gazetted under your UDP Administration in early 2005.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I would rather see an impeccably landscaped Golf Course than mosquito infested swampland in my backyard any day. Some of these courses not only blend seamlessly into the natural environment but actually enhance it. If they use local fauna and take into consideration the habitant of local species this could actually help the environment. There such to be several lakes and ponds on the property that will be well maintained which would be way better than the swampland currently there. Professional Golf courses are always pristinely maintained, and I am sure the designers would be more than willing to work with the DOE, National Trust as well as the Botanical Garden folks to make sure it in tune with the natural surroundings. It’s the CIG that seems to be uninterested in how the road will affect the environment. Arnold Parmer’s courses are famous for their beauty and natural settings which is why people travel the world to play them. XXXX I think Ironwood will could very well give Camana Bay a run for their money. Especially for those that like that small town atmosphere.

    • Anonymous says:

      Golf courses are never ecologically friendly.  The amount of pesticides and fertilizers required to maintain the grass is extremely high and is damaging to the environment.  Where will all the nitrates from the fertilizers and the pesticide run off end up?  In the East End water lens – contaminating that.  I would never live near a golf course as I wouldn't want to be exposed to that level of pesticides.  You might see a few birds, a few iguanas and maybe a Cayman rabbit or two on the golf course but don't be fooled into thinking that because it is visually pleasing to you, that it is somehow ecologically sound.  Lawns are monocultures and monocultures are always detrimental to the environment, and more prone to pests and diseases (which is why you have to use a lot of pesticides on them).  Golf courses are actually very sterile in terms of species numbers and diversity.  Golf courses provide very little to eat and very little cover for native fauna and planting a few native plants here and there won't make up for the loss of habitat.  Golf courses also require a lot of water to maintain them and where will this water come from?  If it is coming from the East End water lens, then how long before that is depleted?  If this project is legitimate and actually gets built, don't candy coat it with comments such as "enhancing the environment" because it can't – it's a golf course.

      • Anonymous says:

        Given that you are an expert on Golf Courses you should know that high end golf courses use organic pesticides and natural fertilizers such as Milorganite.  Golf course designers have also begun to work with environmental experts to maintain their greens in ways that are less damaging to the environment. It would be up to the DOE and the CIG to insure that these practices are followed which is why I recommended getting the DOE and other local expertise involved from the start. As far as the water goes professionally designed courses have state of the art irrigation systems which are designed to minimize the cost of watering, this is one of the reasons you always see large lakes and ponds on the larger golf courses, these collect water that is used to irrigate and water their lawns. No golf course owner wants to pay huge water bills.  

        There are also quite a lot of Golf Courses that double as Animal and Bird sanctuary’s if you don’t believe just read these two articles which also explain how if managed correctly can be beneficial to the environment.

        https://www.mcggolf.com/GolfCourseEnvironmentalSanctuary.aspx

        http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/07/driven_by_cost_and_conscience.html

        Those that are immediately against something will always find some negative about it to speak on instead of doing your homework and finding out the facts before casting judgment. I expect the same rallies and complaints about this project as there have been about every other one. Bu the fact remains that this will be something good for Cayman as a nation, but that doesn’t mean every single individual will directly benefit from it or make a profit from it.

        So I don’t really expect anyone with your attitude to even give it a chance.

    • GH says:

      Help the environment ???!!!!   Help local fauna and habitat ???!!!   Man, what you smokin?   This is the most rediculous comment!  Please don't tell that to any local Caymanian or North Sider!  smh

    • Anonymous says:

      11.37. This entire project  has the potential  to change Cayman greatly and forever. Only the most careful  planning,  founded on the best science, and using local as well as worldwide expertise, should be acceptable. That much should be obvious. Cayman deserves nothing less. Your suggestion that the DOE and the Trust should be involved in the designs is a very good one. They should be involved as a matter of course in all environmentally sensitive developments, bringing added value and a deep local knowledge as well as creative imagination to the table.

      Like you, I believe that if this project  is done the right way it can be a positive addition to Cayman, but do it the  wrong way, and we will pay the price forever.  That is why Premier Alden's astonishingly premature comment that the road could not be diverted from the National Trust's property was so worrying, coming as it did from a man of such apparent ability.

      The need for the road has yet to be demonstrated. If the idea is to create a small town centered around the golf course, would not most of the golfers be coming from the eastern districts or from the surrounding village? Furthermore, East Enders and Northsiders will tell you that the delays on the roads these days occur west of  Savannah. When you are east  of  Bodden Town, the roads are perfectly adequate and relatively traffic-free. If the proposed road is diverted  south to avoid the Mastic Trail, drivers from George Town will have to travel another 500 yards, delaying them by thirty seconds. Is this enough to ruin Arnold Palmer's  business model? So far, the  government reaction has been disappointingly shallow  and quite inappropriate for such a momentous  proposal.

       

       

       

  11. Anonymous says:

    DoE won't want it because some tress will have to get cut down and swamp land filled. Ezzard will protest it, Arden will say it won't help the Caymanian people, plus he hates Alden. That why they didn't bother to include them..

    • Anonymou says:

      As damning as the comment seems to be there is the faint whiff of truth contained therein, certainly as pertains to Ezzard & Arden.

    • Foreign Devil says:

      Press on regardless !

  12. Anonymous says:

    The PPM obviously have no intentional or interest in the Law they so forcefully pushed through. I bet they didn’t expect it to impact them first. As far as the East and North MLA’s, I’m sure that government isn’t interested in their hoopla over it anyway since it will only be we don’t want it in our district.

  13. Anonymous says:

    PPM wants a road so cuts a backroom deal . How many PPM supporters own land along this road? Its same old crap as the Dart deal – shameful that PPM got in on 'integrtity honesty wagon ' on the back of UDP shenanigans …. and are doing the same and worse. Where is Roy, Winston and Tara – the advocacy group?

    • Anonymous says:
       
       
    • Anonymous says:

      "No Show" Tara and Capt. Whogene are hard at work…

    • Anonymous says:

      If this back room deal as you say, had happened under the UDP govt. no one would have even heard about it yet!  Mac liked to keep everything quiet until there were no legal loopholes for any change.  Please do not compare this government's honesty in the same breath with the UDP's past shady deals.  

    • And Another Ting says:

      But people are forgetful eh, this also happened when Action man opened the arterial when he was Minister. It's all part of the same ole political bull crap all are birds of one feather , you know the rest.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness.  "Concerns mount about the environmental and social impacts of the 360m development"?  Where are these concerns mounting exactly, other than in the minds of CNS writers?  

    I know your heart is in the right place but you are seriously misguided if you think the Cayman Islands or the eastern districst are better served by 100 ft of ubiquitous mangrove forest and a crummy single carraigeway road than by a $360m development and a highway to connect it with the capital.  

    The development  will bring jobs and government revenue for decades to come that will help Caymanians and help lift the country out of recession.  What has that 100ft of Mastic trail done for Caymanians lately?  

    There is literally no development that could not be opposed on environmental grounds.

    This type of coverage is merely validating the views of opponents to the conservation bill implying a zero tolerance approach to development rather than balancing the economic needs of the country with the perfectly valid goals of environmental conservation.

     

  15. Cayman Shame says:

    So you're going to clear out our land for 18 holes just 18 holes for a few rich people's entertainment and pleasure?  Any politician supporting this childish and destructive project deserve to be recalled …. But we don't have "recall" in our Constitution. Whilst we are fighting for OMOV we still have a document that doesn't really uphold participartory democracy in the Cayman Islands … this is just like how any local party leader and the UK would like to have it! 

    • Anonymous says:

      First sentence almost made sense, ruined by the rant thereafter which made no sense at all. Participatory democracy? If by that you mean that the half of the population that is expat and is contributing most to government coffers by means of work permits, spending money etc and creating the companies that also generate government fees get a say?? Yes please, I would love to vote. That would be a participatory democracry. Some how I suspect you did not mean that.

      • And Another Ting says:

        Hit the road Jackis  what I've been telling alla these so called experts who do nothing constructive but brag about their contributions. It's simple you can't vote you no gonna vote so do your next best.

    • Anonymous says:

      OK, first things first it’s not your land that’s being cleared out, this is privately owned property not yours or ours. That’s the problem with a lot of people here, you think that you own every piece of land in Cayman. Well guess what your own people sold that land and any rights to it long before you were born. So if a few rich people buy land in Cayman then yes it’s now for their entertainment and pleasure. So thanks to the greed of Caymanians selling off their family land most of this island is now owned by foreigners.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes it is our land by birth right fool we were born on this soil not you, Foreigners that buy land here are only paper owners there is a difference that land can be taken back at any time if it benefits us. 

        • Anonymous says:

          So what you're saying is that if I buy land in cayman it actually still belongs to the born Caymanians and not to me. Your government should make that clear to potential buyers….You know that a deed is not a deed in Cayman. 

    • Anonymous says:
       
       
    • Anonymous says:

      What's the UK got to do with it – it's purely a Cayman decision

    • Anonymous says:

      Just an FYI it's not your land!!!!! if it was you would have to sell it!!!! i am happy as i have land in this area and will now develope it, providing jobs for my fellow Caymanians, please let me know your name so i dont hire you!!!!