East End dock may threaten blues

| 17/03/2011

(CNS): The developers of the proposed East End Seaport are being advised that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) must pay close attention to the signs of iguana presence that have been noted in the shrubland along the southern ridge of the proposed site. A preliminary assessment of the area by government officials showed some evidence of a possible pair of the island’s indigenous and critically endangered blue iguana in the terrestrial part of the development, which the DoE says warrants further investigation. The terms of reference for the EIA, which were published by the East End Seaport developers this week, point out the possible presence of the ‘blues’ and recommend special attention be paid to the area.

Joseph Imparato proposes to site a commercial sea port in the High Rock area of East End, where there are believed to be some blue iguanas living wild. Although the islands’ indigenous iconic iguana is mostly confined to the recovery programme areas at the Botanic Park and the Salina Reserve to the north of the proposed development site, there are thought to be a few remaining wild pairs scattered throughout the East End interior.

The terms of reference, which are expected to guide the planned EIA for Joseph Imparato’s proposed port, reflect the recommendations made by the Environmental Advisory Board and point to the need to pay special attention to the possibility of the iguanas at the site, as well as the impact on other fauna and flora in the terrestrial part of the development.

The director of the Department of Environment said the advisory board was formed especially to look at this project’s potential EIA and comprised representatives from the Water Authority, the planning department, the roads authority and the DoE. “This was a truly collaborative effort following the model that has been laid out in the proposed National Conservation Law,” Gina Ebanks-Petrie said.

Although there is still no sign of the national conservation law reaching the Legislative Assembly, Petrie said the agencies involved worked in the way that the law envisioned when it comes to projects and developments of this magnitude. The director added that she hoped that the terms of reference (ToRs) were comprehensive enough and that the public would take a look at them and offer their comments.

The ToRs are now available on the East End Seaport website and will be posted on the DoE’s site on Thursday, where the public will be able to send comments about the document. At present it covers a wide range of issues and recommends that the EIA examine human and cultural resources as well as the more obvious potential risks to terrestrial and marine environments. At the very outset the ToRs spell out the need to describe the rationale for the development and its objectives and offer an explanation of why the proposed project is needed.

It asks that the assessment also look at the alternatives to the proposed project that would achieve the same objective as well as the “no action alternative” — one which many people in East End and North Side are likely to support given the wide opposition that exists to the project.

According to the TOR document, the EIA will need to look at wave height, wave period, wave direction and wave climate in the vicinity of the site, based upon records in long term wave model databases. An analysis of the impacts of the proposed entrance channel and jetty on sediment transport under normal and extreme conditions will also be conducted, it states.

Those undertaking the EIA will be committed to conducting a survey of local corals and other benthic habitats in the project area, as well as of fish and marine organisms, the water quality and the impact the development would have on them.

The ToRs say that possible sources for any current degradation of water and sediment quality will be identified and analysed in respect to existing water borne activities and upland land uses. “Water and sediment quality conditions required to support a healthy and functional fish, wildlife, and benthic community structure will be identified along with any noted deviations from acceptable scientific standards,” the document states.

Air, noise and hazard vulnerability are all listed as areas for the EIA to examine but there are some key points in the TORs that people will be closely watching with regards to the dredging and the quarrying that will be required if the development goes ahead.

As the proposed excavation will remove subsurface material that forms an integral part of the system that maintains the water lens in the area, the ToR document says an issue of concern is that the presence of “joints and fractures, evidenced by photolineaments, may well be the most controlling factor in the properties of the lens,” but the document reveals these are “the hardest to model.” In other words, it will be hard for the EIA to predict with any certainty what may happen to the water lens during the quarrying and dredging.

There is considerable opposition to the development not just in East End but in the neighbouring district of North Side, as well as across Grand Cayman. Both of the elected representatives in the districts are against the project, as Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller say that they believe the proposed port is merely a front for the real purpose, which is to extract the valuable marl from the land at the proposed site.

The potential contamination of the water lens, the dangers of dredging, the impact on the reefs and the potential increased risk to the surrounding communities that such a deep channel would have during hurricanes in an area known to experience very high wave activity, have all been raised by many of the islands’ experienced mariners.

But the site is also home to a significant amount of the islands’ endangered flora and fauna – including the blue iguana — as well as some of its most pristine underwater environments. Once completed, the EIA is expected to offer a more comprehensive picture of exactly what such a development could mean to this location and give the people a better understanding of what may be sacrificed if the project were to go ahead.

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  1. Brac-Fortune-Teller says:

    My goodness! So much fuss and controversy! While all the "Grand Cayman Rabbits" are busy fighting over these golden opportunities, the "Brac Tortoises" are plodding along and are probably just about at the finish line. Once the ribbon is cut – too late!! Oops! LOL

    That’s okay though – the Brac deserves a piece of the pie anyways………. so go ahead Grand, keep on fighting!

  2. Just Commentin' says:

    I just captured a whole bunch of green iguanas and dyed ’em blue. Anybody wanna help me release them in the shrubland along the southern ridge of the proposed site? This should put a kink in their hose.

    Mac, looky here! If the DOE environmental impact criteria contained in this article is any indication, your refinery idea is a corpse. Any other brilliant ideas there, Brightbox? (Preferably ones that won’t get Gina and her tree-hugging minions in a hissy fit and ones that can actually be accomplished. OK?)

    I am very curious about one thing: Has Dervyn Scott’s proposed cruise ship facility and dredging project on Cayman Brac received similar scrutiny, or should the East End project developers feel special to receive so much attention from the DOE? Gina, Mac, DOE, Dervyn…care to weigh in on this question? I was under the impression that you cared equally about protecting all three islands. Right?

    ( Yo, Mac…what the Tweets sayin’ about this? Hee, hee, hee! )

  3. I see you says:

    Where do you detractors or supporters of the project Mr. Imparado is proposing get the idea that Mr. Imperado intends to build a PORT in East End?
    Can none of you read or bother to take the time to do a minimum of research before kicking or kissing all over the Aa** of everyone that wants to spend a few bucks to make millions off your country?
    Anyone who bothered to take the time to read the huge ads that Atwater published in the Compass about Mr. Imparado’s project should have read in bold print under point #8 that any develoupment of a port would be the expense of the Port Authority and the Cayman Islands Government (that is your money folks, not Imparado’s).
    Mr. Imparado intends to dig a hole in East End and sell the fill. Full stop, nothing else. He told you that so at least he did not lie about that.
    If you are for him digging a huge hole and selling the fill then fine …. say that you are. But please no more garbage about this being a project to build a port.
    If you want to go further and support him taking $300 million of our money from us to build a port in East End then fine ….say so. Please, please no more garbage about the scope of this private project including building a port for the people of the Cayman Islands.
    If you want a past owner of CUC to force CUC to store their fuel in East End and pay for a pipeline through the center of the Island to get their diesal …….then say so (Just remember that the capital cost will be charged back to you the customer plus 10% per the conditions of their liscence and the fuel factor will take care of the fuel, so you may want to think about that one)
    If you want the Government to spend another $50 million to relocate the road just so that Mr. Imparado can also dig the fill where the road is now and right out to the sea….. say that you are. Please no more garbage about him building a port or paying to move the road!!!!
    If you think that two blue iguanas should have the sense to get out of the way of a bulldozer digging a hole…. then say so. Who knows, they may enjoy the rather large swimming pool left behind for them.
    I for one have no problem with Mr Imparado turning his private land into a hole in the ground, selling the fill to whoever wants it and owning a hole in the ground. However he should have to approach the project for what it is ; a project to mine marl, not a port.
    In case anyone is wondering why in the name of God I support him digging a hole on his private land, here is my reason. As a 7 Generation Caymanian I too have land with large marldeposits that are worth millions if I am allowed to mine. Some of these properties go to the sea where the best marl is. If this project is exposed for what it really is and not sold as a sham port and he is still allowed to go ahead, then so can I and other land owners. I can convince Government to spend $300 million on my hole to make it into a port and also spend $50 million on a road into my land which will raise the value of my surroulding land that has no marl 100fold.
    I say go ahead and allow Mr Imparado to have a quarry so that I can get my application in too. I promise you I’ll pay someone to do some pretty pictures too to demonstrate where the Government can spend money they do not have
    I for one have no objection to Mr Imperado getting a permit for a quarry if he would just ask for it and stop this garbage about a port he wants the people of Cayman to pay for. The man bought the property and should be allowed to do what he wants with it…….After all the Cayman Government and the surrounding landowners were stupid enough to sell the land in the first place……. Thank God I had the sense to keep mine for a day like this when a visionary like Mr Imparado could come along and open the eyes of other dumb Caymanians as to the real value of their ironshore and the economic windfall this useless cliffrock can bring to those ignorant Caymanians who are fool enough to keep it instead of selling it off. I’M GOING TO BE RICH …… YOU GO MR IMPARADO …….. I want a big hole on my land too.

  4. Frank says:

    Am I the only one here thinking that removing 450 acres of land from a roughly 76 square mile island is a stupid idea?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Greens are using the Blues as red herrings in an attempt to blacken a whitewashed plan for a quarry camouflaged as a port. Or is this really an example of reverse psychology by the Imperato team, manipulating the media so they can write blogs in response to their own contributions, in order to make conservationists, who are people who care deeply about their country, look stupid? It looks that way to me.



  6. Anonymous says:

    It is hoped that the EIA includes a lot more government agencies – what about Hazzard Management?

    A 600 ft wide 60 ft deep channel 1,000 ft inland, what will be the effect on all East End, Frank Sound, North Side, Breakers, Peace Bay, Bodden Town and Savannah with Cat 5 hurricane seas coming from the South during a hurricane going on a South to North track West of Grand Cayman when the seas hit a bulkhead 8 ft high?

    But then who really cares any more?

    What government wants government gets, just another dictatorship my friends.

  7. Anonymous says:

     EE Dock may threaten Unemployment!

    • did I miss something says:

      What DOCK. I have seen no proposal, economic studies, plans before planning or even Mr. Imparado saying he will build a PORT/DOCK on this property. None of the feasibility studies done, plans submitted to Government or PR advertisement show any private party building a DOCK/PORT. You need to actually read the writing instead of just looking at the pretty pictures. An actual picture of a huge marlpit is hardly attractive, even if it can include two actual dead blue iguanas.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is completely ludicrous to imagine that East Enders care a fig about the blue iguanas in this debate. All stops have been pulled out to sway the public to torpedo the East End seaport.

    Next thing you will see are the East End and North Side MLAs wearing T-shirts saying, "Save the Blue Iguanas" at the local rallies.

    What piffle…

  9. Anonymous says:

    What hypocrisy. Those who killed the blues in May 2008 went unpunished. Yet we are condemning persons who may not even kill. If we really cared about the blues something would have been done in 2008. We don’t give a damn about them and this is a pathetic attempt to stop progress.

    • Anonymous says:

      The incident that happened in May 2008 was speculated by medical examiners to most likely have been caused by wild animals.

      Although not certain, I would still be careful when posting comments about incidents you do not know much about.

      • Anonymous says:

        So let me try to understand. A qualified medical examiner has to speculate as to whether they were "most likely" killed by a wild animal or humans? Try the marl road. Its far more accurate. By the way, what kind of wild animals do we have? And when you answer that, why doesn’t it happen more often?

    • Anonymous says:

      Firstly, nothing was apparently done because of who apparently killed them and when the investigation narrrowed and the fingers pointed to one particular individual, the investigation was suddenly closed. Sadly that is the way things go in Cayman. Very sad but true. Secondly, Cayman has a very high incidence of animal abuse and cruelty which continues because like most other crimes here, you can easily get away with it. Our Education system along with our Health Care has been left in the dark in the name of Development so don’t even bring up educating people on this topic and if our leaders don’t care about our health how can we think they even know what a blue iguana is much less want to protect it and its habitat? My very wise Grandmother always told me “you can judge a country by the way its people treat their animals” She was so right and we are in a mess because of this and other such ignorant judicial and governent atrocities.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your comments mirrored my understanding of the slaughter of the blue iguanas and I thank you for your honest appraisal of the cultural moral void in the general treatment of animals in Cayman.

        It is a deep dark secret that you put some much needed light on which is why the hypocrisy of using the welfare of the blue iguanas as an argument against the East End Seaport turns my stomach.

  10. noname says:

    This is very interesting development.

    If the project is denied on the basis of the blues, then the land (and any other land with the blues) would surely be unsuitable for ALL future development and would become financially worthless to developers. Surely all developments in the EE would also be assessed for Blues by DoE (or are they being politically driven in this instance).

    This would presumably also extend to all endangered species. Just think about that with implications to marine species, mangrove, turtle nesting on SMB.

    Fascinating stuff that will shape the future.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Shut this foolishness down Cayman tell Mr Imparato and ATwater consultants that you are not for sale. I understand the Church’s in East End collection pans are getting a little heavier these days . What a shame!

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn’t it ironic that the Eastender’s have sold their land, spent the cash and now think that they can call the shots.

      • Anonymous says:

        Check your facts Crown Land that was sold to the Imparatos for other CUC deals over the years, don’t get me wrong surrounding land owners in East End saw the Opportunity a sold their land but that is not a big chunk of the pie, and they are probably not with us today to despute your claim.

  12. Righto says:

    This is probalbly the stupidist report CNS has ever done…when all is fails blue iguanas to the rescue

    • Anonymous says:

      People who use the word “stupidist” should probably re-consider calling anyone else stupid (or refrain from using any form of the word stupid). Just a thought.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yet another biased article taking a position before looking at the facts !

    • Anonymous says:

      The facts are self-evident, just like we know water is wet.

      But then maybe if we pay someone enough their report will convince some idiots that water is dry. Hey, good idea, put the East End Quarry supporters at the drop off then tell them to walk to the land! Problem solved – they would all drown.

      • Anonymous says:

         What facts would those be?   Your argument is all wet unless you can produce facts, which you don’t have, ergo, you are all wet.  You could probably produce a report saying you are dry, but that report wouldn’t have any facts either, so it would be all wet as well.  Just face it: you’re wet and so are your supposed self-evident facts.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The impact on the environment will include removing 450 acres of it and shipping it overseas, so there’s really no point in an EIA.The subject of the report won’t survive the report itself.

  15. actual reason says:

     If the North Sound project is simply to re-dredge the channel and link to the Governor’s Harbour area as members of the industry say won’t harm the Sound, then allow it.  It is the extreme greed of construction contracts for buddies that we don’t want!

    Hospital? Great…benchmark it on a global scale and move forward.  Train Caymanians in the medical field.

    Oil refinery, sure!  Put it on the Brac.

    Any type of sea-port???  How about looking at Cozumel and Roatan???  Just build docks just like theirs (a fraction of the cost compared to our wacko cronyism plans)

    The point is….YES, for development withing reason, we need revenue, but it can be done without spending millions or ruining the environment!!!

    Take greed out of the equation and all these projects would be viable.


    • NJ2CAY says:

      I couldn’t agree more, especially with you comments about the port. Why does he have to bring the ships inland instead of building a dock on the Iron Shore where they could park. But If I recall, there was opposition tosomething like this because as they said it would ruin the view of Cayman from the sea.


      Some other Ideas I’ve heard..


      Oil refinery….No Way in my opinion.


      North Sound Dredging…Only if it will not mess things up in the Sound. But not needed if the EE Port happens.


      Shetty Hospital.. A definite Yes


      Empire City….A definite Yes.


      Space Port…Just Stupid


      • Anonymous says:

        Somehow the space port seems pretty appealing….put it on top of Mt Trashmore

    • Anonymous says:

      yes  and we should start looking at getting a nuclear reactor so that we are less reliant on oil.

  16. bill says:

    I was told the other day to stop building my house, cause they saw a blue iguana on the site. Opps… there he is running away

  17. Joe Mamas says:

     All this going against it and yet it will be done (at least the quarry part).  When it is all said and done and looking back what will we remember as to the reason it was done?

  18. Anonymous says:

    It will probably accelerate global warming as well.

    • 12th of Never says:

      I suppose they will find away to blame the possible extinction of the Blues because of this EE Port on Mr. Arden McLean.
      Stand firm “Action Man” as the truth willbe revealed eventually!

      • Anonymous says:

        Does anyone actually understand what Arden and Izzard stand for? Are they proposing for the East End districts be turned into a nature reserve. If so they have my vote.

        Why don’t the objectors actaully state what their vision is rather than just being contrary for the sake of it. Mr Miller seems to stand against everything (including the evironmental act!) and stand for nothing.

  19. Anon Y. Mous says:

     I wonder if the Shetty hospital project will get this much scrutiny.