NS campaign gathers pace

| 02/03/2011

(CNS): The Save Cayman campaign opposing the development of a channel in the North Soundis growing fast and campaigners hope to have volunteers stationed across Grand Cayman this weekend gathering signatures for a petition. Since the premier announced his intention to dredge the North Sound in order to create a channel that would allow mega yachts to pass through those opposed to the project for both economic and environmental reasons have been growing in numbers. A CNS straw poll posted on Monday already reveals that 84% of voters think the channel is terrible idea. Campaigners are concerned, however, that with the premier’s enthusiasm for the channel there is little time to waste in ensuring the anti-channel message gets out.

The premier has said that he hopes to sign a memorandum of understanding with the proposed developers before the end of March to dredge a channel at the western end of the sound near to Barkers point to connect with the canal at Morgan’s Harbour.

Two islands that are said to be a mile in diameter will be reclaimed and will be used to enhance the project, McKeeva Bush revealed in the Legislative Assembly last week, and added that government would be putting in the necessary infrastructure. He said Cayman had to “use its assets” in order to grow the economy.

The premier has made it clear that he does not believe the channel will cause any serious harm and has dismissed critics of the project, whom he says are opposed to the idea without knowing all the facts. Although Bush has stated on a number of occasions that he would not go ahead with the project if the Sandbar was threatened, a considerable number of people believe that it would be at risk, leading to the loss of Cayman’s primary tourist attraction, Stingray City.

Save Cayman started this weekend in order to focus the opposition to the channel under one umbrella, and campaigners say that not only is Stingray City at risk but the whole of Grand Cayman faces a much greater tsunami threat during a major hurricane as well. The question of who will benefit from the development as opposed to those in danger of losing their livelihood is also an issue which has been raised by a number of bloggers on CNS as well as the campaigners.

Furthermore, the demand from the mega yacht community to come to Grand Cayman is also in question as little research has been done to establish at what level that would be and what sort of numbers the island could expect. Anecdotal evidence suggests that those owners who do choose to come have expressed a preference for being in the Seven Mile Beach area.

The opposition party raised its concerns yesterday when Alden McLaughlin spoke to CNS, stating that the PPM has always had reservations about dredging a channel in the North Sound and that to rush into such a project was foolhardy at best.

Despite the premier’s discussions with the developers and the goal to have an MOU signed shortly, with construction set to start before the year end, the director of the Department of the Environment has said that no one has yet discussed the proposal with the department. Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that she would recommend a full environmental impact assessment which would also examine other means of achieving the government’s objectives without the need for dredging the channel.

In the wake of planning permission given to the Ritz Carlton developer last year to dredge canals as deep as 20 feet, thedirector recently said that there has been considerable research which finds that even canals dug beyond 9 feet, the limit recommend by the Wickstead Report as far back as 1976, caused serious environmental problems, from negative impacts on water quality to the reduction of biodiversity.

The Save Cayman campaign is being spearheaded by Captain Bryan Ebanks with the assistance of other concerned citizens. The goal, he says, is to get as many hands on deck as possible this weekend to ensure that everyone who is opposed to the development gets a chance to sign the petition and expresstheir concern.

“There is a lot to be done and if we had a few other committed people to work collaboratively with us we believe we could have a greater impact,” said Capt Ebanks as he asked for people to volunteer their time. “We have very little time to work with as Mr Bush is pushing forward with or without the blessing of the people. We need our voices to be loud. We need our message to be heard.”

Anyone who can assist with the campaign is asked to contact either Capt. Banks at savecayman@gmail.com   –   more details can also be found on the Save Cayman FaceBook page.

Go to the CNS poll:
Are you in favour of dredging a channel in the North Sound to accommodate mega yachts? 

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Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    THREE CRUISE SHIP PORTS HOORAY! XXXXX Where is all the money coming from, I guess it is the dictator’s surplus he keeps telling us about. Manipulated numbers to pull the wool over our eyes XXXXX. Govt accounts in many departments is cash accounting and not accrual accounting, so guess what Cayman, all the debt and liabilities of government and what they have owed contractors etc for over 18 months is not included in their accounts. Contractors have been waiting to be paid for up to 18 months while our dictator spends money on the high life around the world. FELLOW CAYMANIANS IF YOU LET THIS MAN DESTROY YOUR COUNTRY XXXXX YOU ONLY HAVE YOURSELVES TO BLAME.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another load again

    Another load again
    The Premiere has dropped another load again
    When Big Man is not travelling with family and friends
    He is blaming all the problems on the PPM
    Another load again
    The Premiere has dropped another load again
    Back at home shouting ideas that really make no sense
    And he’s blaming all the problems on the PPM

    He is going to build three ports and an oil refinery
    Why should he consult the people about strategy?
    Big Mac’s plan to deal those who are now outraged
    Is to wait until 2013 and then promise a minimum wage

    Another load again
    The Premiere has dropped another load again
    When Big Man is not travelling with family and friends
    He is blaming all the problems on the PPM
    Another load again
    The Premiere has dropped another load again
    When at home shouts ideas that really make no sense
    And he’s blaming all the problems on the PPM

  3. anonymous says:

    McKeeva, Mr. Dart and Mike Ryan please listen to the people.  If you dredge that North Sound you will ONLY help to activate a very dormant Volcano.  Look at the shape of the North Sound and tell me if that is not a volcanic crater.  Look at Hell and tell me how that got there.  Look at the Bluff and tell me if that was not a sudden explosive volcanic phenomenia.  You may laugh at this, but it did happened and most of the elderly people in these Islands believed it did.  The shape alone of Grand Cayman, should tell you that we are bordering the peak of a dormant volcanic mountain top and our shape came from a previous active source.  If you mess around with nature. it will come back to bite you ALL, where it hurts most.  Another matter to consider, what if another hurricane comes through from the West side like the one that destroyed papagallo some years ago?  are you guys trying to cut off West Bay from George Town or wah? or is this all to support the Casinoes you all are planning to build in the North Sound?  Why does it have to be ALL about money$$$, why can’t you guys concentrate on the Islands inland infrastructures, like finishing our schools and doing what is right for the people of these Islands.  Stop destroying our mangroves, stop destroying our Island for the love of money.  This stupidness has to stop now or a Devine intervention will be imminent again.

  4. Bill says:

    I am not an islander but I am a very frequent visitor all for diving during my stay. Cayman was put on the map may years ago for the diving. It is a well documented fact that any type of dredging has dramatic and long term effects on the marine eco system. There seems to be a vision here that dredging in the sound will have little effect on the marine eco system, this will not only effect the marine eco system in the sound but the loose sediment can and will get out over the North Wall and suffocate the coral reefs as it settles on top of the coral.

    They may think that bringing in these "Mega Yachts" will increase the local economy but it would never offset the long term damage done to the reefs that would make divers from all over the world stop diving Cayman and going to other islands.

    Should this happen I know I would have to start thinking about other dive destinations for those 3 tripsa year.

    Save the marine life, save the reefs, & save Grand Cayman…

  5. Anonymous says:

    People, please give up this mega-yacht pipe-dream set forth by Mike Ryan and Mr. Bush.  It is NOT going to happen for many reasons, most of which have been previously mentioned here.  And for the last time, It is NOT Bill Gates with the yacht – it is Paul Allen who comes to Little Cayman to dive and have his annual inspection etc., here.  And having him come once a year is not going to do it –

  6. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians have apparently been kissing the arse of foreign billionaires for so long that they don’t know how to stop.

    Don’t you realise that if you lose your gin-clear waters, all is lost — this and the stingrays are the only genuinely unique attractions that Cayman has. Lost those and you lose everything. And the mega yacht owners will then just anchor somewhere else. SAVE your enviroment people that’s ALL you really have. The idea that a handfull of mega yacht owners visiting once in a while will bring jobs is something so stupid, it is hard to be believe that anyone sane would take it seriously. Grow up Cayman! You’ll be skinned alive by these expat millionaires and their Cayman flunkies XXXX.

  7. durrrr says:

    I’m sure that the people protesting against this are the same ones who protested against Bernie’s party boat – same nonsense arguments about destroying the North Sound, blah blah blah.

     

    Mac has already said that he would not do anything to destroy the Sand Bar, and if you really think about it, why would he want to damage one of our main, if not the main, tourist attraction? The whole idea behind this is to bring in a new source of revenue, not to drive out an existing one.

     

    The fact is that large sections of the Western edge of the North Sound are already dredged, so the project will merely be a case of joining up the existing bits, and widening and deepening an existing channel. That existing dredging and channel haven’t caused the Sand Bar to disappear, so why are people so quick to assume that connecting them together and expanding the channel a bit will?

     

    Some of the complaints on the last couple of articles on this are straight up foolishness, eg.: a tsunami will wash through the channel and destroy Prospect – err, no, just turn the dredging to the West once you’re through the channel and the raise to shallow water will act as a breakwater to any seas traveling from North to South, like the old channel used to;the Sand Bar will be destroyed – see above; the marine life will die – grab a mask and go for a snorkel in the existing dredging, you’ll see more marine life (snappers, grunts, angel fish, lobsters, crabs, starfish etc etc) than pretty much anywhere else in the Sound; and my absolute favourite, ‘How much water will be displaced by these islands? What will it do the the filtering for the mangroves?’ – Lachlan, the North Sound is not a bathtub, sleep easy, the project will have zero effect on the world’s ocean depths.

     

    I’m really not sure whether it’s the snowball rolling down a mountain effect, and people are just looking for something to rally against (if so, your target should be the ludicrous talk of building an oil refinery), or people are just anti- anything Mac proposes, but unless and until someone produces a factual reason to oppose this project, any protests are completely meaningless, regardless of how many thumbs down this post gets.

    • Satan says:

      I have grown weary of your witless chatter.

      Here is what you should do with the Cayman Islands:  dig it up, pave it over, cover it in oil.  Every tree should be pulled down and every flowering plant destroyed by fire.

      Kill all the foreigners, rape all the children and drink your lives away.

      You should do all this because I’m bored with where I am and am looking to relocate to a neighborhood like the one you are talking about.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we could be getting somewhere folks…I mean, this guy actually admitted it is possible for Mac to come up with a ludicrous idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor lost soul. Surely you cannot be ignorant enough to understand that the ‘ludricous talk about building an oil refinery’ is also coming from your belovedMac? 

  8. The Monkey's Back says:

    Where do I sign?

    Perhaps I’ve missed a few mega-yachts cruising by and looking for berth.

    Could we at least study what owners of such yachts traditionally bring to the economy of small island nations? It would seem on the surface of it that they are mostly self-contained.

    I believe that the demographic that we need to cater to are those who have always been our tourism bread-and-butter — the working class, who save all year (or more) for the opportunity to come here and enjoy our [mostly] pristine seas and world-class diving.

    In a country of our size, is it a lack of vision to not support a radical change? I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to preserve the very reason that people have traditionally chosen to spend their hard-earned dollars here.

    I think it’s just as simple as that.

  9. The Crown says:

    Hurray! Caymanian’s are the ones ultimately responsible for their country. Next three items: 1st a established CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY 2nd a established NATIONAL CONSERVATION LAW 3rd a established MINIMUM WAGE.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Crown you are so right.

      Unfortunately our Premier Mac and the UDP are against all things that would really benefit Caymanians, they are only really interested in their foreign jet set gambling buddies. The UDP are against all 3 of your good proposals, why? Because Caymanians are the main beneficiaries.

      So I do not believe that we will ever see any of the three (3) items on your wish list, and mine too!

      Crown, thanks for your highlight of what is necessary.

      • The Crown says:

        I’m with your points 100% as well. We must achieve these things..Everyone needs a break & that seem’s to be a long way off,especially when we let it. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am surprised about the attention this idea gets.

    It is a distraction from government to keep you busy and forget about the REAL issues.

    Caymanians like to be fooled and kept quiet. It works . . .

  11. AIM BIG says:

    What’s wrong with that????  We are closer to the equator and "Sea Launch" IS a Cayman company afterall!

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Launch

    • Nj2Cay says:

      The problem is that the launchpad at NASA is bigger then the island itself…

    • Nj2Cay says:

      Not a good idea to brag about a compnay that went bankrupt..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Which would only hire Caymanians.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It has just been announced that McKeeva will be making another televised speech.I wonder if these are paid political speeches and if so ,who is paying.If the tv station is donating all this air time to Mr Bush ,I hope equal time will be given to persons who have an opposing  or different point of view.

  14. UDP Supporter says:

    I love Cayman and my Caymanian people so I can’t understand why so all are so dead-set against this idea suggested my our Premier. This channel will provide jobs and help us diversify the economy of Cayman by catering to mega-yachts and their owners. This is just environmentalist scare tactics and people against Caymanians earning a decent living. I support our Premier and his common-sense solutions to our problems. You should too!

    • Anonymous says:

      “”This is just environmentalist scare tactics and people against Caymanians earning a decent living. I support our Premier and his common-sense solutions to our problems. You should too!”””

      Can we say stupid???? ignorant????

    • FSM says:

      Where is the feasibility study? I dont believe in blindly turning projects down but there seems to be a lot of potential impacts not thouroughly investigated. Before all factors are weighed I dont think this project can go ahead. There seems to be a generel lack of scientific approach to the Premiers projects. Whether good or bad.

    • Anonymous says:

      To UDP supporter at 18.02………is your real name Mac?

  15. Anthony Montana says:

    Its great to see the "Save Cayman" campaign gathering steam. Unfortunately, it appears Big Macs long established "Screw Cayman" campaign is stronger.

  16. Commandante Calabash says:

    It’s alarming we have to petition our governments so often to ensure they have our future and best interests in mind. Bass awkwards if you ask me makes you wonder what their purpose is and who they work for.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Anyone interested in understanding the threat of storm surge should visit the (US) National Hurricane Center (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ssurge/ssurge_overview.shtml) as well as exploring this section.  Please watch the loop of historical images of the results of Katrina.

    Katrina had a long slow storm surge run-up before major landfall, that section of the Gulf seabed is a very gradual slope … These loops of historical storm surges can be used to visualise what could happen if a major storm were to hit the North Sound; you have to imagine the channel that would funnel the surge into a wall of water that would smash the land it hits.  Storms can and do change paths: make U-turns and 90degree turns in very little distance.

    South Plaquemines parish (in the ‘toe’ of the boot shape that is Louisiana) was completely inundated with houses relocated from the east side of the Mississippi River to the west side – more than a mile, and in some instances almost into the Gulf on the western edge of the land.  I spent many hours photographically documenting the telephone reconstruction in that area in the months immediately after the event.  The only home that survived was already on 25 foot stilts.  Is that what we want for all our homes? 

    Please sign the petition!

    SAVE CAYMAN!

    I support SAVE CAYMAN!

    SAVErayNORTHsmall.jpg

  18. Mac and Cheese says:

    Give it up people! The mega yachts are lining up to get in. We shall overcome!

  19. EEEEEDIATS says:

    Mac the man has obviously lost his marbles. I’m just waiting on him to announce the need for us to have a NASA style aero space research center on the island.

    • Dark Marauder says:

      Who told you?
      Anyway, don’t bother trying to tender. It’s already been promised to me along with a washing machine, a box of pampers, a Blackberry and a weekend pass to the casino.

      Seriously people, do we look stupid? Don’t answer that.