East-West Arterial

| 03/04/2014

We should take it with pride that our beautiful isles continue to attract countless visitors and investors like Arnold Palmer to our shores. However, we find it to be counter-intuitive for any development to occur in which a fortunate few would profit at the expense of our protected lands. Nor does it say much of our commitment to our islands when such proposals are being touted on the heels of the passage of the National Conservation Law (NCL).

The Law was designed to prevent such avoidable and irreversible damage. As highlighted in the recent Tenth Environmental Audit Committee Report from the UK, such poor planning and ecological mismanagement reflects poorly upon our governance and us as a people.

Given that the proposed northern East-West extension will impact upon some of the last surviving primary dry forest in the Caribbean, the burden of loss will weigh unfairly not only upon the National Trust, but on our collective natural heritage.

The ecological integrity of our islands is tantamount to the preservation of our livelihood.  As a group, we advocate for the sustainable development of the country. It is our firm belief that our wellbeing as a society relies upon our ability to maintain a balance between our shared social, economic, and ecological needs. Our support for the passage of the decade-old NCL was intended to ensure a national commitment to environmental responsibility.

Global efforts to effect such change continue to demonstrate that development can occur with these principles in mind and we applaud the government in ensuring its passage.

However, a number of questions have yet to be answered. Should we not, for one, prioritise the Shetty route to ensure speedy access to these new health facilities as opposed to a development that is still an uncertainty? Are two additional roads really necessary for the Eastern districts? Further, the current proposed route would cut through wetland; Have we assessed the cost to fill that land?

We understand that the National Trust’s proposed alternate route south of the Mastic would avoid wetlands and thus reduce costs. It is the responsibility of the CIG to mitigate any unnecessary expense.

Before any sudden and significant decisions are taken about major infrastructural projects, we think that it would be wise for us to develop an integrated national infrastructure, transportation, and development plan. This would allow us to prioritise and rationalize our infrastructural investments over the next 10 to 25 years. Rather than continuing on the current impromptu method of development based primarily upon the interests of private investors, we should be investing strategically in projects that will serve our foreseeable needs and desires as a whole.

Greed, desperation, and anxiety cannot be the prime motivators in this matter, or any other that will impact upon our islands. Indeed, such recklessness has contributed to our current economic woes. As such, we urge that we take this opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves, and others, that we are capable of building a Cayman that sustains our wealth, identity and beauty.

For more information on the environmental NGO Sustainable Cayman, visit its Facebook page.

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Category: Viewpoint

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a visitor to your Island I must say that I am beginning to feel like I'm visiting Miami, Fl.  Where is the quaintness of your Island?  Why should I spend what it cost to visit Cayman if I'm going to feel like I'm in Miami.  I can visit Miami much cheaper.  I want to feel like I'm on a Caribbean Island!

    • Garfield says:

      Strongly recommend you visit Jamaica or perhaps Haiti for the total Caribbean experience. Kingston is very different than Miami and Port au Prince is another world completely.

      An experience you will never forget.

      Enjoy your travels.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go to little Cayman for that Cariibean Island feel, or the Brac

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think this new road and proposed development is a good thing.

    The current narrow road (single lane) from newlands / savannah to the eastern districts are dangerous and cannot continue to serve it's purpose for the future. 

    This narrow roadway (with it's many turns and blind driveways) now needs to serve as an access road.

    I'm in full support of the new proposed road and development!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I understand the desire to protect the environment but I think this viewpoint is a little misguided.  The author seems to think that the East West Arterial is a recent decision made in isolation, but this could not be further from the truth.  The EWA was thoughtfully designed as part of a national infrastructure plan as ordered by the government in power at the time (the UDP) in an attempt to ensure that the people of Bodden Town, East End and North Side would never again be isolated from the rest of the island (and therefore food, water, gasoline, medicine and etc) because of a disaster such as Hurricane Ivan.  This road was carefully planned by the trained professionals hired by the NRA who considered the environmental issues and the property boundaries as they existed at the time.  The National Trust has since acquired land that the EWA was slated to go through and as Christina Pineda from the National Trust recently said on Radio Cayman, all the parties involved in this project sat around the table and agreed a course of action that satisfied them all.  The National Trust walked away from the meeting satisfied that their concerns had been addressed. What is wrong with that?

    Wtih regards to the 'greed' accusations posted in the comments, I must admit, I am at a loss for words.  I fail to understand why people think that making a living is an immoral thing or that the developer should be building Ironwood strictly out of the goodness of his heart.  He is building something and he is obviously passionate about it.  He has already contributed something back to the community, with his open engagement with the public, and the first lot sale going to charity.  I think that he ought to be given a little credit for his consideration.  

    People will always ache to find the negative in something.  It must be terribly disappointing when it turns out that someone is just trying to build something useful, something that the island can be proud of, something that will benefit lots and lots of people and well, perhaps make a little money while he is at it.  

    • Sea Ray says:

      The point is that the road was NOT designed in a thoughtful, careful or considered manner. It was rushed through, not to serve the districts but to route a road to proposed hotel sites because everyone knows that tourists don't like long drives. (Especially if the plane is landing at night. At least I know I don't when I'm travelling.) What people are calling for is that the road corridor be re-examined in a thoughtful, careful, considered and most importanntly publically involved manner. Then, if its still the right place to put it, that will come out. But, like the BT dump, if the public aren't involved from the begining they're going to see through the smoke and mirrors and be annoyed.

      hishasnotingt do with the (particulr current) developer ad everything with transparet governance

      • Anonymous says:

        The plans for this road have been in the public domainfor nine years.  The road was designed by the trained professionals at the NRA who are specialists in the areas of road development.  They did surveys of the land, they considered property boundaries and did the best they could to avoid running through the middle of someone's land, they considered the access points and the most efficient and safe route and they also considered the impacts on the environment.  It is unfair to assume that no thought was given to this road plan as it discredits the professionals who studied this and put it together.  It is also unfair to say that the public was not given sufficient time to comment – the public has had nine years to think about this and make their opinions known – the land owners have certainly known about it for all of this time and it sounds like most of them are wondering how soon the road will be built.

        It is also true that one of the main stakeholders – the National Trust – has made their concerns known and that those concerns are being addressed in an open and transparent manner.  

         

         

        • East Ender says:

          Actually, if you look at the road, in particular the proposed corridor east of Frank Sound (ie the East End section), it is clear that the route is primarily calculated to provide access to specific parcels of land that are currently “landlocked”. That is why it is as straight as a snake’s backbone.

          The proposed route clearly has less to do with creating an alternate route for extreme weather events and much more to do with cutting a direct path to the hearts of certain landowners (i.e. voters).

          However you dress it up, politics has played a big part in the proposed route.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think you might find if you study the map that the reason it is not absolutely straight is because the planners have made attempts to go around environmentally sensitive areas and to be cognisant of landowner's properties – i.e. not putting a road right through the middle of it, rendering it useless, but going closer to property boundaries.

            • Anonymous says:

              You must be looking at a troll map of middle earth. The proposed route currently goes out of its way to cut through several environmental reserves.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually the discussions about this road has been around since the mid-70's.

          At that time I do not thnk that there was a law requiring compensation. However, for reasons known only to the government members involved then, they did not take any action to "purchase" the route. It is my understanding that, at that time, the owners of the effected property were very willing to give up the needed acerage to secure access & road frontage.

          Times have certainly changed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You can build all you want but the fact is cayman is dead due to internet and the truth about how any overseas will be ripped off

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is dead because of the mass status grants of 2003 and the influx of economic migrants that are unable to contribute to the society in a significant way because of their limited economic mean i.e. no minimum wage law.  How on earth can a person be expected to work for $2.50 per hour when the cost of a loaf of bread is $2.75, employers that pay their employees slave wages should be ashamed.  Cayman has become a greedy society and as a result the country and its people is losing big time.  Soon we will become just another third world has been.

  5. Nicholas Robson says:
    The question that must be raised in the political arena is this; "For whom are we developing the Cayman Islands?" In this deal the islands economy is losing millions of dollars of import duty which will be spent on the extension of the East-West Arterial, benefitting very few citizens. 
    Those in favor of development argue that trickle-down economics benefit the whole community. However, as Pope Francis said recently and I paraphrase, 'Normally a glass overflows when full, however with capitalism the glass gets bigger'. 
    His actual words were "“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system”
    Question everything and question everyones motivations, analyse a situation such as this one and ask your self who benefits.
    Ask your self how many Caymanians will be able to afford to play golf, which is not an inexpensive game. I am a Bermudian and I can assure you that not all Bermudians can afford to play.
     
    Nick Robson
    • Truth says:

      How many Caymanians use the financial or tourist businesses that are the backbone of Caymans economy?  Any benifit to Caymanians there?  Are you just mad because its not the Cayman government doing it?  Maybe if Caymanians would use what Caymanians have built the Turtle farm would only loose $5,000,000 a year.

  6. anonymous says:

    I'm tired of eating casava and one or two fried sprats….lets get development on this island so I can get a job!  At the end of the day, i cannot live on this poor economy.  I am sure everyone supporting the environment have a nice airconditioned house and pretty car.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I was up at North Side and East End this weekend and the news of Ironwood has been a hit in the community.  People in Cayman need to realize that having additional golf courses on the island brings visitors and investors.  Look at Bermuda… half of their population plays golf. You can only have so many jewelry stores, dive masters and trips to Stingrary city.  It becomes boring and mundane.  The kinds of visitors we want to attract are those with money, class and the ability to bring their families down for a one or two week holiday.

    As for the new road.  The developer spoke at North Side last week and is far from the kind of guy that is looking for money money money.  Of course there is a financial gain from the development, but the road has been gazetted since 2005.  The hospital, Ironwood and other developments have been promised this new road and we now have the funding to assist with this venture. Caymanians need to understand that we need to protect our homeland while allowing for continued investment or we are going to not have the lifestyle we expect.  You cannot have a beautiful house, good schools for your children, safe environment without continued development and attraction for wealthy individuals. It just won't happen.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We don't need to kill flora and fauna just to get another garbage lined road where no traffic laws will ever be enforced!

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    I could not agree more!

    I really do not see the need for this road. Either one of them! But definitely not two different roads from Breakers to East End. 

    Its going to reduce the drive to these areas by about 5 – 8 minutes only. 

    That is a lot of destruction and expense for not much of a positive impact. 

    How about some real cost benefit analysis for once?

    Furthermore, the developers, the Moffits, have a questionable track record and I would strongly urge caution in our dealings with them. 

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      silly comments…the drive to town will be cut from 35 minutes to about 15…your other comments are too silly to comment on….

  10. Truth says:

    You forgot to end it with (unless its Caymanians who are doing it now or have done it in the past.)  Cayman islands before the Caymanians was one big Mastic trail in a big swamp.  Are you also against what Caymanians have done?  Would you not be happy if it was your family who was building on undeveloped land? That was a rhetorical question whos answer is too obvious.  This is just another (in a long list) of why can a smart person be allowed to do what we are to incompetent to do ourselves?

    • Anonymous says:

      For one, you can't assume that others are just as self-serving as yourself. So, no, it's not obvious that anyone would do it. Yes, Cayman was once undeveloped and we have done alot of harm to it. However, we are supposed to be WISER now. We have countless means available to us to prevent/ limit further damage and still grow. If these people are as 'smart' as you claim they are, they would understand that.

  11. lilpressgyal says:

    Thank you for such an insightful and balanced viewpoint. We must continue to critically examine such major development projects in order to ensure they will truly benefit our people without negatively affecting our environment. As John Muir said: “Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.”

  12. Anonymous says:
    The ecological damage that will be done by this project through the Mastic Trail which is clearly supported by the Progressives proves it's…Just another day in Absurdistan.
     
     
  13. Anonymous says:

    Good article. PPM passed the NCL and now are screwing these islands and the environment with this new east-west road. Also, they are allowing the Dilbert's to dig up the salt pond in Cayman Brac and will eventually contribute to his Environmental Impact Assessment costs which is simply shocking!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Brac thing is much worse than you say. They are going to pay him for the fill. The fill that is owned by the Government.

      If there is a bad deal to be negotiated, any time, anywhere, you can trust the Cayman Islands government to stumble into it.

       

  14. Anonymous says:

    Arnold Palmer is not investing in Cayman.  He has a company that designs golf courses.  He is paid to do so and he was most likely paid to come here to push the project.  After all if it does not go through his firm does not make money designing and building the course.  He like the developer is in this for the money.

    • Bai says:

      He may not be investing in Cayman, but he is certainly investing in himself. There is no wrong in that, however it is wrong for his gains to come from such an extravegant loss to the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if arnold has a work permit?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lets be real folks.  The golf course is just the bait so CIG will get all weak at the knees.  the road is just a strategic move to increase the value of certain peoples land.  The people of this country should not have to pay for it

    • Anonymous says:

      The road was gazetted in 2005 in response to the devastation left by Hurricane Ivan and the fact that the road was impassable at Bodden Town, leaving the people up there stranded without access to groceries, water, gasoline, and cash from the bank.  It was an untenable situtation and I think the Government needs to be commended for deciding to strategically plan an alternative at that time, even if they did not have the funds then to pay for its construction.  This development is providing the opportunity for the road to be constructed and paid for with the new Government revenue that will be generated from this project.

  16. Jah Dread says:

    Dem belly full but dey hungry, a politician don't give a damn

    dem talk so pretty dem can really chat, while de people dem can't even fart.

    We gonna dance to the music of poverty and despair

    We gonna dance to the music of politricks.

    cost a living get so high the rich na care the poor soon fight, rebels there will soon come out, we gonna dance to the music , we dancing we gonna dance to the music we hurting we gonna dance to the PPm madness.,