Opponents pack meeting

| 29/07/2011

(CNS): A sometimes-heated public meeting on the Emerald Sound development in which architect Burns Conolly explained the plans in detail to an audience of about 90 did little to mollify the mostly opposition crowd. Representing the developer RC Estates, Conolly spent three hours Thursday talking about the project and answering questions, but the two sides remained far apart by the end of the evening. The plan for the 90 acres of land calls for 81 home sites and about 160 apartments, significantly less than the approximately 400 homes and more than 1,300 apartments that the zoning would allow, he said. 

He said that Emerald Sound would as a result be “extremely low-density”, with the developer reaping less than 40% of its development potential, but he people there were not convinced.

Of major contention is the plan to realign a section of South Sound Road alongside the development as well as fears of flooding and nearby beaches turning red from the peat found on the site. Opponents believe that the realignment of the road is being planned to expand seaside lots across from Emerald Sound, an assertion Conolly vigorously denied, saying that the 22 sites long ago received Planning permission and pre-existed the proposed road changes.

Audience members brought up this issue several times during the question-and-answer session, and many openly challenged Conolly’s explanations. He repeatedly pointed out that there were three reasons to move the road: to create bicycle and pedestrian lanes, to accommodate a roundabout that the National Roads Authority has planned for the junction of South Sound Road and Old Crewe Road, and to enable one main entrance for the seaside lots instead of 22 separate driveways. Residents insisted the plan was to increase the size of the lots.

Conolly also explained that Emerald Sound, which would not be less than seven or eight feet above sea level at any point, would not present a flood risk to the surrounding area, that in fact, a model simulating increasing tides shows every site except that development ending up inundated, with no water flowing out. In addition, plans include an eight to 10 acre swale (basically a depression), between the development and the adjacent Bel Air Drive, which will direct any runoff from that land into the sea.

He pointed to a surveyor’s report that showed the path of the proposed canal that will be cut to the sea has only a shallow layer of peat, just below the surface level, meaning that the water flowing through will not be turned brown from exposure to peat.

Conolly touched on other contentious aspects of the development, but the increasingly vocal crowd continually challenged his explanations, with some opponents responding with shouts and anger, as the meeting reached its third hour.
The potential for polluting the waters of South Sound was another cause of concern for the residents. Mike Godfrey pointed to a Department of Environment review of the Emerald Sound coastal works, which discussed a flushing analysis of the proposed canal system in the development.

Pointing out that every time the tide goes in and out, there will be pollution, he said that according to the DOE report the dilution of the pollutants should be 10% after four days. “Yours is up to 75%. Now don’t tell me they can be that wrong; they’re the people we have to depend on. If yours was even 20% it wouldn’t be bad but yours is 75%. This is going to pollute the entire sound.
You will have a gigantic 125-foot canal polluting until the end of time.”

Conolly took issue with the report, saying it didn’t take into correct account a test study done on the depth of the canal.

During a further discussion on the shifting of the road, a question was raised about the fact that the developers would be taking over crown land after the work was completed. This noticeably darkened the mood of the meeting, with one person angrily telling Conolly, “You have to stop acting like you are doing us favours because you are not.”

Katrina Jurn, one of the more outspoken critics of the development, told Conolly there was a way to get everyone to drop their objections. “Why don’t you do it without the canals?” she asked, saying that the both the landside and seaside aspects of the development would be beautiful on their own, and even someplace she might consider living.

“We wouldn’t be here tonight and they would be no debate,” Jurn added, saying they would be happy to have the developer go ahead with Emerald Sound without the canals.


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  1. British Bulldog says:

    Just read about the threat of "affordable housing" in the Compass. My God, there should be a law against this type of developer activity. Only a downright scoundrel would behave in such a manner, truth be told.

  2. noname says:

    everything is changing so quick on this little island….where's the beauty of what we had before??what will our children's children's see???? not saying anything bad about these people ideas but just stating my personal opinion….*sigh*

  3. ZAPATOS says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    i feel sorry burns connolly trying to put across well reasoned arguments against a group of people who are consumed by their own selfish agenda(i.e protection of their property values)……

    • anonymous33 says:

      ummm… i think you're wrong, rather this development will raise the value of their property

    • British Bulldog says:

      Yes, think you're a bit mixed up on this point. I mean, wouldn't living by the water make their places more valuable?

  5. Sick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    Thank you Mr. Conolly – I believe the detailed response in your posting (Mon. 08/01/20011 – 00:57), and I quote  "…the developer of ES has created a  8-10 foot swale, a depression all around the site, that will CONTINUE (my capitals) to assist with drainage from neighbourhood properties."  –  is effectively an acknowledgement that the ES site HAS previously helped to drain, among others, Randyke Gardens.

    You are of course absolutely correct in everything you say about the Planning & MRCU Laws regarding drainage requirements on new developments, and I would not dream of suggesting that your group had any responsibility for what has happened, and will continue to happen in Randyke, during torrential rainstorms. That is something for Government to resolve – I merely hoped to catch their "eye", as they may well find themselves again having to resolve the old problem. By the way, what made you assume that I am part of the South Sound Group – I am not – but for my own reasons I agree with them that ES is unwanted, but even more importantly, unnecessary, bearing in mind the 100's of undeveloped canal front sites alreadyon the market. Just hope the developer has the resources to complete the project properly, if he finds that Joe Public is not rushing to buy his product.

  6. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    Another question for Messrs Conolly & Hislop – why do we need MORE houses and apartments – the market is flooded – does that word sound familiar to anybody else……?

  7. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    For the third time, would Mr. Conolly answer the question ” Is the ES development on a drain field which reduces flooding in Randyke Gardens, and if it goes ahead, will the residents of Randyke be subjected to the disastrous flooding which occurred in the past”.
    If this were to be the case, surely Government should be considering the Randyke flooding issue, as they were the ones who had to deal with it the last time. If Mr. Conolly does not respond to this second “specific” request for an answer, I think we can draw our own conclusions that the answer to my questions is “YES”.

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      Not sure I heard the other two requests…however ES is not on anyone's "drain field". Our Planning laws require that each developer retain and disperse all water on their own site. ES will retain and dispatch all such water.


      I think everyone recognises that Randyke Gardens was not filled properly and is subject to flooding. The Planning Laws and regulation, as well as the MRCU law, state that development in "new" areas are required to be filled to a minimum of 4 feet above sea level. Randyke should have been filled to that level and I guess that is an issue to be brought up with its developer.


      My understanding is that the main "relief drain" that affects Randyke is the cut under the road near the Red Bay dock, about 1500 feet west of ES and that drain is said to dump not only reddish water into the sound but also a level of "sewage". My past discussion with the DOE indicate that they do not like these drains as it is changing the salinity and introducing uncommon levels of nutrients into the sound. They favour a more internal and comprehensive flood management approach to the south sound swamp areas.


      The Emerald Sound development site, like all other sites in the Cayman Islands, is not required to provide drainage for anyone else. Having said that, the developer of ES has created a 8-10 acre swale, a depression all around the site, that will continue to assist with drainage from neighbourhood properties. That swale and its drainage system will dump water back into the sound should it get above 3 feet above sealevel. It doubles the capacity of the two under road drains found on the site now. So it is likely that the flood relief in the ES area will actually be improved after the development.


      What I find it really interesting is that all of a sudden the folks of South Sound are taking so much interest in Randyke Gardens. Hopefully those that have written with such concerned will visit there one day and assist with a solution for that terrible situation.



    • Anonymous says:

      Can he also answer the question as to who will be paying to maintain the bridge and the run up to it on an ongoing basis?

  8. Anonymous says:

    If Dart can move the west bay road in order for his hotel to have the full stretch of our pristine 7 mile beach and if "watchamacalit" can can tear apart the East End wall and move the road for a big ole dock then why can't Burns get his canal??!!

    The hypocrisy that runs so prevalent throughout this Island just kills me!  But I suppose it all boils down to "IT'S WHO"!  Sad, isn't it?!

    • Anonymous says:

      It doesn't matter who it is, if the action in question is wrong it is wrong.  If this developement will destroy our Island IT IS WRONG.  Trying to turn this into a petty fight about who is who and saying this is a personal attack on the developer is simply ignorant.  The opposition is due to the fact that no one wants the canals to be dug and destroy the South Sound, and even the Islands ecosystem.  The notion of a profit in the short run (for a certain few people) should not be allowed to destroy our Island in the Long run.  You need to understand that its time for people like us to stick up for what is right for our future! No more of this, well Dart can do it, so might as well let everyone else. IF it is wrong then it is wrong and we should not condone this behaviour just because a few people have gotten away with it.  We need to stop the corruption and devestation to our Island before there is nothing left to fight for and the few people who have profited have fled the Island leaving the rest of us to try and pick up the remains. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why plan for canal lots & a marina; there's nowhere to go boating on the South unless you fish in the open water or dive; there's already lots of vacant docks & other marinas planned. There's a surplus of docks & property vacant & for sale in Cayman without creating yet more. Such a development will add to the traffic & queues as well around Hurleys roundabout.

    Also, dredging & canals will aid flooding to surrounding areas. If this happens, affected home owners who then have claims & can't afford the hiked insurance prices should sue the developer & Government. Same thing for any developer who increases risks & dangers for others (removing mangroves etc.).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Connolly I feel you have answered all my questions. I feel you have handled this project as a professional who is more qualified then people who would find fault no matter if God said go ahead. So I hope you get through with your small project.                                                                It would be a shame to allow anymore small $200,000 style houses like frank. But of course if you do i hope you can get to cut a canal to that project and you allow boats that can open the south side to do watersports. Like fishing and snorkelling cause we going to need that with our new spotts pier. Maybe everyday waverunners. What about a boardwalk so we can get pizza and hot dogs. It would be nice to open a couple of fast food rest. So everyone can come and use south sound. A couple of sports bar anyone??

  11. Anonymous says:

    is it possible that south sounders don't want the canals because it will automatically decrease the value of all existing inland lots?

    • Loopy Lou says:

      100% right.  This all boils down to the other residents trying to protect their property values by stopping more supply and stopping newer properties coming on in their area. 

  12. Libertarian says:

    I wonder what is Burns Conolly's response in having a well canvassed' survey conducted from house to house, as to who wants this Emerald Sound Development in their community and who opposes it?  At the end of the day, does the developer want to build his empire next door to an angered community. How will Burns and company respond if the majority of the community says "no, we don't want this project in South Sound." 

    And worse, will our government allow the developer to have his say over the people of the South Sound community. They have money to spend on other things – why not do a survey and find out what's in the people's heart?  Burns, do you have an answer?

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      Based on my experience, no development other than houses would be able to receive planning permission if the neighbours were "polled".  Even when the Planning zone allows certain development, when it meets all of the requirements and is well designed, neighbours will object. That is not to say that some of the objections are not valid, many do have real and valid concern.


      What would be required however is an 'educated' neighbourhood ( neighbours having ALL of the facts) about the development so they can make an informed opinion. Even with that situation, people do not like change, do not trust the developers, do not trust the experts that are brought in to explain projects so my honest opinion this concept would simply shut down everything other than houses and potentially offices/retail in Downtown.


      So from a planning mechanism point of view I do not think what is suggested would work. What we currently have is that on larger developments, neighbours are required to be notified and their objections are taken into account when the CPA makes a decision. As a government board, CPA has access to other government departments/technocrats as well and takes all that, along with the current Planning law and regulations, into rational account prior to decision making. There is even a mechanism to review that decision as well in case they got it wrong.


      What is really needed in Cayman is that the Planning Laws be modified to ensure that everyone knows what can or cannot be done on ALL property. At the moment, one has to wait for an application to know what is going next door. In some places what is known as "As of Right" zoning solves that issue. Everyone knows that 25 apartments will go next door, at some point. So developers when purchasing land will know what they can or cannot do on it and neighbors will also know this prior to purchasing their home or apartment….that way the running 'battle' we have here now on all major developments will go away and the CPA can concentrate on the quality of the proposal from a planning and architectural perspective.


      • Libertarian says:

        Pardon me, and I know I am probably the most infamous commenter here, but if the "educated" majority of homeowners like you say causes the "shut down [of] everything other than houses and potentially offices/retail in Downtown," are you saying that the educated majority is in the wrong?  Are you saying that the developer should be able to still pursue his project despite the educated majority opposing it?  Doesn't that sound a bit selfish and indifferent?

        • Anonymous says:

          Uhm… you sure know a lot of big words.

          But if you haven't figured out that the average resident of the Cayman Islands doesn't mean jack s**t to government or developers then that tells me you must not even live here.

          Why don't you practice your "Joan of Arc" routine in your own neighborhood?


          • Libertarian says:

            Why must you make yourself look big in attemping to insult another person's intelligence?

        • Jack N Meoph says:

          Got an ego much?  I think you might be a legend in your own lunchtime, but far from the most infamous commenter here – the phrase "big fish in a small pond" comes to mind, LibEGOtarian!!!

          Besides, most of your comments are way off base, antagonistic and generally detrimental to the harmony that is Cayman of old.  Dust the old chip off your shoulder and try working your way out of the crab in a bucket, anti-development, anti-expat life you live in…

          • Libertarian says:

            You're right about one thing:  I do have an ego problem – a strong self identity, which has caused me to hurt so many others in my life. It is a "big fish in a small pond" mentality. Selfishness that excludes others. Regards. 

    • Anonymous says:

      they would get over it.  I'm almost over the transformation of the 4 way stop in west bay from sweet old run down buildings and coconut trees into Heritage Square

    • Anonymous says:

      how about a survey on thumbs down to libertarian's posts?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just not in my back yard BoBo not now, not never or ever.

  14. Loren says:

    This is just not a good idea, leave South Sound as is, we saw what happened in Ivan. 

    • Wet Paper Caymanian says:

      I will explain the name one day if I am allowed. Yes we did see and WE know that it all messed things up. Can you just Imagine ? We'll have Tunas in Industrial Park. Charles you won't have to burn so much gas. Common Man that can't work ! Everybody is entitled to their own just like everybody ( I think) has a bellybutton. the only beautiful scenic road left not far from town with beautiful sea views at a slower pace. Please don't even touch it. Let our grandchildren enjoy it too and theirs….

      • Anonymous says:

        where were you when they paved the beach for the Tiki restaurant??  That was a beautiful stretch as well.

        • Anonymous says:

          It was one of the "undiscovered" treasure of the island.

          But, hey, I like drunks and loose women too.  Way to go Tiki Beach!!!


        • Anonymous says:

          Never mind, it will likely be unpaved again soon and become part of Disney, sorry, Dart Land.

  15. Jack N Meoph says:

    OK, so the area will be beautified.  Bike lanes and walking paths.

     BUT – will these then be posted like the Lakes "for use of residents only"?

    And can someone provide me the broader map of the entire South Sound area where the developer extends the same bike and walking paths along the entire South Sound road?  

    Surely these paths are not going to just start at one end of the development and end at the other?

     Oh, they are?  

    Oh, so where is the public parking area for us to drive to to park while we use these "public bike ways and walking paths"?

    Oh, there are none?

    Sounds a lot like the paths are only being created for the use of the owners of the property, and back to point one, and now I got $50 on the table says access will be limited to owners and their guests…

    • Anonymous says:

      The Lakes signs do not say "for use of residents only", they say "no dog walking". I walk in The Lakes development all the time and it is a private road. South Sound road is a public road.

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      Public sidewalks on main roads are a requirement of the CPA. We are just pulling them away from the main road for safety and aesthetics, similar to that done at Camana Bay along the Bypass where there is a landscaping buffer between traffic and the walk.


      The bicycle lanes are not required but the developer is creating them along the main road. They are for the public. When you come to the end of them one will simple rejoin the traffic lanes and share it with the traffic as is done now.


      Both lanes will be provided on both sides of the road and will end at the ES property boundaries. The CPA requires that each developer provides sidewalks along the public road of their development. As the road continues to have development the sidewalks will eventually be complete.  The NRA has just started to add cycle lanes on the public roads with the first significant ones occurring on the east-west arterial from Red Bay to Savannah.

      • Jack N Meoph says:

        You are factually correct, but the spirit of the Dart changes is to extend them beyond the development itself – in excahnge for getting added value to their land holdings, they are extending their beautification and usefulness beyond their project.  Are you going to throw in the complete revamp of any public areas in South Sound, including cabanas, kid friendly parks and the like as well as the extension of the government roads as proposed through the middle of South Sound to Walkers Road to alleviate east-west traffic flow, or are you, as I believe you have said above, limiting ALL your development to the land of the person who is paying you directly???

        I rest my case, you said it yourself – you are going above and beyond the planning requirements on your developer's land only – and to access it, others will have to pay and do it.  So, CLEARLY, it is ONLY going to be effectively useful to those who live and visit there – and you have yet to answer where the public parking will be for all of us who will want to visit and use it.

        Oh, sorry, that's right, THERE IS NONE!!!


    • Anonymous says:

      You must spend too much time doing what your pen name suggests. The Lakes is a private development and private road with no right of way through it, except for access to individual lots by lot owners. South Sound road is a public road. You are comparing apples with oranges. The signs in The Lakes do not say "for use of residents only" – they could say that but they don't. I'm glad they allow us to walk in there and I guess they got fed up with all the dog sh!t that people leave there and that is why the signs say "no dog walking".

  16. Anonymous says:

    This project is good for the country at least the government won’t have to waste all that money on that road when we get a “south-sound-wester”  those people in sound are fighting the project because the developer is local and he stand to gain  “to hell with them” do your thing my friend don’t be stopped by haters.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you're wrong, (and in a way that is not helpful for you)  They are opposing him because of NIMBY.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Boy, the bleeding heart opponents are giving so much publicity to this project Rene won't have to spend a dime marketing. He thanks you in advance.

  18. Anonymous says:

    South Sound is a natural canal. Mr. Connolly is just going to beautify it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Do these developers understand that we currently have 4,000 (four thousand) apartments for rent on e-cay? WHY are we continuing to destroy destroy destroy  to build build build our beautiful island into a world class concrete jungle?

    • Anonymous says:

      to generate revenue to build more condos-its the never ending vicious circle that is making cash money…once the island is paved over, move on to the next pristine paradise and repeat.

      • Anonymous says:

        and if there aren't enough people here, come up with ludicrus projects to bring them

  20. Anonymous says:

    looks like a good spot for a port

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      Interesting comment…actually Captain Paul Hurlston, who is one of the objectors to ES, said he DOES support a mega-port project in the sound. Along with Captain McCoy, they said the port there would cut a 500 foot channel in the reef and dredge about 250 acres (about 38% of the entire sound by my calculation) to a depth of 40 feet deep for up to 12 cruise ships. The Cayman Net News Story of 2004 also suggested that the project could fill in the mangroves in old prospect point by having a beach pumped there for the land owners.


      Captain Hurlston said that he believed the idea actually originated with Captain Theo Bodden. That is was not his original idea.


      While I understand Captain Paul's vast sea-going experience and his logical recognition that behind the reef offers a protected zone from a ship's point of view, that it is close to GT and is calm most of the year, I cannot imagine that the 40 foot deep mega-port would be less of an impact than the 6 foot deep ES canal.


      • Anonymous says:

        What is the point of having planing laws and regulations if we make some sort of exception for every development???? It is so pathetic as we all know XXXXX that a lot of developments are passed under certain conditions and that the developer hardly ever fullfills those conditions and the planning dept has absolutely no teeth to enforce them afterwards.

        It is further annoying and almost insulting that developers are always seem to think that if they fluff around some fancy power point slides and long meaningless reports, the average person cannot keep up and figure what is behind all of this.

        Furthermore, it amuses me that developers have no second thought of perhaps destroying something that was the reason for many people to move to this area in the first instance, however, they are the first ones to jump up and down if somebody wants to develop anything in the area the developer lives. In other words, it is ok to do it in someone elses back-yard, just not in mine.

        Why don't you just develop this area without moving the road and dredging a canal?


        • Burns Conolly AIA says:

          For the record, the Emerald Sound development meets all Planning Laws and Regulations. We have not requested any variances or proposed something that is not commonly approved by the CPA.


          Planning Regulations for the site allows 1365 apartments or 273 homes. The Emerald Sound proposal is only for 168 apartments and 81 homes.


          I further understand that one of the prime objectors actually sold a major portion of this land to the developer. I am not sure why they did that and not just keep it as undeveloped if they were going to object to it being used. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Burns, I have to tell you that I am very glad that I and many others had the good sense not to vote for you last election. To use the words of my national hero, Dr. Roy McTaggart,  "Thank God". Incase you don't know what I mean you may wish to enlighten yourself by getting a copy of Doren Miller's documentary Upon the Seas.

            • Burns Conolly AIA says:

              It is good that we live in a democracy. Your election choice is just fine and respected by me – I ran to make a difference not just to "get elected".


              I was wondering however when, given the lack of any technical reasons for objecting to this project, the comments would turn personal against the messenger. I do understand the potential frustration that might be caused when the myths are dispensed with scientific fact. Therefore I totally understand your comments. 


              PS: I do have a copy of the documentary that Dr. Roy funded in my library. Long bless his memory and his stand in the 1960's.


          • Anonymous says:

            Actually it seems to me that they are only really objecting to the channel through the road & into the sound and the movement of the road. Why not go ahead with the larger quantities & no canal? Could it be because the developer would not actually be able to sell these quantities for the amount required to recoup his investment & make a profit? Some of us can & do read between the lines.

          • Anonymous says:

            I am confused – does this mean everyone can come along and request for a road to be moved or a channel to be dredged? Whilst I understand that the land itself MAY be developed within planning law stipulation, you will certainly agree that moving a road and dredging a channel will require some further permissions and clearly, the CPA will need to consider the BIG picture when granting approval, and not just whether the amount of buildings fall within the density regulation and set-back requirements.

            I ask again – why doesn't the developer just go ahead and develop without a canal?

            The biggest fear for me is the precedence this sets! If the road can be moved for this development and a canal can be dredged, what keeps other developers from coming along requesting the same?


      • Anonymous says:

        I heard that Captain Birds Eye is also very supportive of this proposal.

  21. P-$$$$ says:

    Yes anon 8:08 could not agree more sure didnt see some of these good folks at recent protest and rally or meetings.I guess they couldn't be bother with that, he who knows it feel its. The rest of island its okay but not my South Sound i guess, well Burnsie looks like he is going to seperate it for us by canal, it will all inclusive hell they can even get their own police station with actual bobbies on the beat. Sad to see the lack of unity inna dis ya community bwoy!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Cant we just put the dump there? Looks like there is enough room and that area stinks anyway

  23. Anonymous says:

    If planning approval is granted, noone has to answer to the local residents about what they chose to do with private property. If you want that type of control you should move to gated community with strict covanants..

    Once the development is completed, bridge and Canals done and after home in the area increase in value and this again turns out to be a thing of beauty. See how many of these objectors decide to sell and move. No they will be happy that what was once a swamp is now a thing of beauty, built by man.

  24. Anonymous says:

    It is not just South Sound residents who enjoy this stretch of road with its water views and access but many from all over the island.

    The greed to profit excels here.  The developer has already filled in a stretch of the mangrove area into the sound on the water front to make the house blocks on the seaside of the road wider.  He has dumped and leveled tons of marl into the sound along the beach.

    The canal and road relocation will obstruct traffic, views and public enjoyment of this area.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here at least there really IS a view of the sea for people  to want to protect. On WBRd you are just glimpsing it as you drive by …

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      Just correcting this old myth — that it is possible to see the sea from the road at Emerald Sound. You cannot.


      The Emerald Sound development is on the land side, 200 feet east of Bel Air drive, opposite the large home there. It is not near the Red Bay dock where the jet skis use and where you can see the sea.


      The 22 seaside lots opposite the Emerald Sound development have had Planning permission for about 10 years now. Those fixed boundary lots extended to the seaside edge of the old mangroves. Ivan killed those mangroves in 2004. Hurricane Dean removed much of the dead debris. The lots remain.


      The developer filled the base of the seawall that has been started at the large house and has had permission since that subdivision. These works and the seaside lots are not a part of the Emerald Sound development.


      • Anonymous says:

        Just correcting your economising with the truth, those twenty already approved lots aren't deep enough to put houses like the one Renee built and sold. He had to extend the depth for that property by interfering with the sea side boundary, the trouble for him is that such an exercise is expensive. It's much cheaper to move the road and increase the depth via a land grab of the generally powerless common folk. The sad thing is i'm not against or for the devleopment but what I don't like to see is people with education and power being completely disingenuous with the public. A South Sounder.

        • Burns Conolly AIA says:

          Thanks for your comments. I tried to explain this in the meeting Thursday night many times including showing the seaside lot boundaries and overlaying the current aerial photos. I want confirm that my statement above is in fact absolutely correct. There is no benefit to me to fool people. Let me explain with greater clarity.


          1. The seaside lots achieved planning permission and were subdivided many years ago. At that time the developer achieved planning permission for a seawall for the entire length of the 22 lots as well.


          2. The government FIXES your seaside boundary at the outer edge of mangroves. That was done through a survey at the time identifying where the mangroves were. The lots were created and are registered at L&S.


          3. The developer began the sea wall at that time and partial filling of the land where the large house is. After construction start, Planning permission is fixed forever and remains in effect today.


          4. Setbacks for building is from the fixed boundaries, including that seaside boundary that was set many years ago.


          5. Based on those facts ALL of the lots on the seaside WILL be developed, whether ES happens or not. You can see from our submission drawings that the area of the existing road is only being used for an access drive to the seaside parcels, landscaping and for a pedestrian walk and have not been incorporated into the existing parcels.


          6. You may ask any surveyor on the island, the planning department and also check with Lands & Survey to confirm the above statements.


          7. Now,… why you and so many believe that this is not so. The reason is that the sea DOES encroach on these fixed boundary parcels (crosses the seaside boundary) and in some cases, come what appears closer to the road than would allow building. So VISUALLY it appears the land is not deep but it really is 'buildable' and in many cases the seaward boundaries are in the sea. Happy to show you the computer drawings atmy office anytime.


          The road is being proposed to be realigned to provide "Camana Bay Type" landscaping, pedestrian and bicycle lanes along the main road, to provide a single exit from the seaside lots instead of 22 driveways which would disrupt the pedestrian flow, to be able to raise road to and build bridge without disrupting traffic, and to most importantly align with the proposed NRA roundabout at Old Crewe road which is slightly west and north of the existing intersection.


          My main goal is to dispel myths like this not to try to convince anyone to support the project. That is a right each one should have but clearly after the facts are known. I do appreciate that this is visually confusing to many. Thanks again for your comment.




          • Anonymous says:

            I'm sorry Burns but your main goal seems to be to obfuscate the truth. "The government fixes your seaside boundary" "The lots were created at L&S"  "The seaside lots acheived planning permission and were subdivided many years ago" "The sea DOES encroach on these fixed boundary parcels." At least the last sentence I have quoted gives a clear picture of the situation. In your treatise on myth dispelling you fail to mention that it is a well know fact that with  the right contacts on the planning board and at lands and survey a devleoper can pretty much do as he wishes, which is what this developer in question seems to have been able to do in the past along with many others, Michael Ryan in particular. You remember that circus like canopy on top of Captain's bakery? Yes the one that is still there-that is a pretty good synopsis of how things run. You should be wary of continuing your myth dispelling you might just end up convincing a few fence sitters to choose the side opposite to the one you are eager for them to join.

            • Burns Conolly AIA says:

              I can only hope you do check with the government L&S and Planning departments on Monday to confirm for yourself. It is clear that nothing I can say will appease you. Just don't be surprised what you find. These lots are not a part of the ES application and I was not involved with their creation way back when. The ES application does not ask for any of these lots boundaries to be modified in anyway.


              For the record, I am not trying to have anyone join any side, pro or con. That iseach person's right.  If I was I would be letting you know the economic benefits to the country, the $45M revenue to goverment and jobs it will create, etc.  If you saw my presentation I only dealt with DOE and Objector concerns. 


              The job of my company is to put the facts out there and to present the information and application to planning. That is what I am doing.  The opposition has been dispensing myths for over three years now, some I believe not knowingly but just because they did not understand the application or the way the south sound reacts in a hurricane. Surely you will agree if something is being misrepresented it should be my duty to correct it. I will continue to do so.


              Have a good weekend. Be careful, it looks like its going to be wet.

              • Jack N Meoph says:

                Sign an afferdavit that as part of the ES development, the land on the sea side of the road will be given to the National Trust for the Cayman Islands for the people of the islands, and you got my support – canals and all.

                Oh, sorry – phase thre, or is it, four, calls for mega mantions on these lots NOT PART OF THE ES APPLICATION.

                Smoke and mirrors – Barnum and Bailey said it right – there's a sucker born every minute.  Sorry Burns, I, and a lot of other Caymanians, including, apparently most (ie more than 50%) of South Sound are NOT the suckers you need to get this project through…


          • Anonymous says:

            Item 2) is not strictly true. Any definition of a sea boundary is effectively a "snapshot" in time. The seasonal/storm changes in sand by erosion & deposition could change youe HWM defintion tomorrow.

            Similarly, where your boundary is the outside edge of the mangroves, then any growth of those mangroves will make your parcel larger. If those magroves have gone, then your boundary moves inland to the HWM line.


            • Burns Conolly AIA says:

              ….only prior to a Fixed Boundary survey…then it is fixed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Got to love the wording "200 feet from Bel Air Drive". I would like to point out that the proposed deveilpment is about TWENTY feet from Bel Air Manor apartment buildings.

        • Burns Conolly AIA says:

          We are both correct. For clarity, I was setting the location from "Bel Air Drive" (the road) along the south sound road. If one is there you will know there are two undeveloped lots ( the first 200 feet or more) on the main road before you arrive at the development land for ES. In other words as I presented on Thursday, the ES development begins approximately at the second light pole east of Bel Air drive.


          In the rear, at Bel Air Manor Apartments, ES does share a common boundary and those apartments may have been built as close to that as 20 feet according to standard planning regulations.


          What I think should be noted is that the developer has left a swale buffer to continue to take Bel Air's excess water and therefore that buffer will also offer privacy to the apartments. If ES was, as is being suggested, just filled with more apartments and homes, the first building adjacent to these apartments could be a 3 storey apartment building merely 20 feet away on that boundary and raised to 7 feet above sea level.


          That swale and landscaping was included in the development after discussion with some Bel Air owners. Bel Air is the one group that should now recognise that ES actually has made significant provisions for the low lying nature of their development ( some parts measure merely 2-3 feet above sea level and floods during heavy rains now) and also be pleased that a natural buffer has been included immediately against their property boundary. That 8 -10 acre buffer would normally become homes and apartments. Additionally, the natural stormsurge coming from the first area that the sea breaches in south Sound (just above the intersection of Old Crewe Road and South Sound Road) will be stopped by ES from coming directly to Bel Air.


      • Anonymous says:

        I can glimpse the sea at times, maybe my car is higher than yours!

  25. Tell you What says:

    Ill support this development IFthey include a scenic monorail from the Spotts dock to the George Town Harbour, inclusive of a large parking lot in the Spotts dock vicinity so as the monorail system can not only service the cruise passengers but also serve as a ‘park and ride’ facility for those in the eastern districts
    Done talk.

    • Homer S. says:

      Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
      Like a genuine,
      Bona fide,
      Monorail! …
      What'd I say?
      What's it called?
      That's right! Monorail!
      I hear those things are awfully loud…
      It glides as softly as a cloud.
      Is there a chance the track could bend?
      Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
      What about us brain-dead slobs?
      You'll all be given cushy jobs.
      Were you sent here by the devil?
      No, good sir, I'm on the level.
      The ring came off my pudding can.
      Take my pen knife, my good man.
      I swear it's Cayman's only choice…
      Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
      What's it called?
      Once again…
      But Main Street's still all cracked and broken…
      Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!


  26. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    When them "South Sounder's" say that don't want something in their community, they really mean it and their "word's and wishes" are absolutely final !!

    I'll share an incident which many of you readers may or may not remember about 25 years ago. There was a ceratin individual (from overseas) who was a well respected civil servant (a real expert and genius of the day) who did a lot for the Cayman Islands in respect of getting rid of certain "things" that were causing havoc here. He lived in South Sound for many many years.

    When he passed away, his family opted to bury him at the South Sound Community Cemetary next to Caribbean Paradise condominiums. The hole was dug for the plot but due to this individual not being an original South Sounder, residents were upset and went and filled back up the hole with sand, which resulted in him being buried at Dixie Cemetary along North Church Street George Town. This is an absolutely true story !!

    A word of advice for Burns Conolly, drop your plans to build a canal through South Sound. The people don't want any more flooding on their properties than what they experienced as a result of Hurricanr Ivan. More Hurricane type Ivan's are lurking on the horizon !!   


    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      Thank you. A simple undeniable fact – South Sound WILL flood in another hurricane just as it did in Ivan, guaranteed, with or without Emerald Sound. Water will pour over the sand beach ridge (incidentally put there by past hurricanes) just as it did in Ivan, as it did in 1932, in 1944, etc. People will again be stranded in South Sound. Homes will again be under 10-15 feet of water. Property will be destroyed on the coast.  The rear area will flooded.  We are on a low lying island in a hurricane zone. Simple facts.


      The ES project will not stop that, but more importantly it will not contribute to that flooding. In fact, up to 8 feet flooding ES may be the best place in South Sound to be in a storm. But I do understand why people are concerned given our immediate experience. I had 3 feet of water in my house there as well. My car ended up down the street.


      At the public meeting Thursday night is was clear from the computer flood simulation model we presented (made using Lands & Survey base data) that at least 4 or 5 locations of the existing road will be bridged and start flooding homes and the rear swamp long before any water comes out of the ES canal. In fact our simulation of tidal rise in South Sound was eerily supported by the L&S's own Ivan Flood Map which can be purchased from the government. 



  27. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was a very good presentation overall.  My two main concerns; flooding and dredging were adressed in detail.  I must admit, I did not realize South Sound was dredged so extensively in the past.

    Kudos to Burns, that is not an easy position to be in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just because South Sound was dredged in the past does not mean it should be now. Why can't we learn from our mistakes?

  28. nauticalone says:

    I agree with those opposing canals in South Sound!

  29. Anonymous says:

    After they have moved the road and built a canal where are they going to find people to buy the houses and apartment. 


    Look around at all the empty apartments and houses for sale.  I think that greed is the motivating factor here. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I'll buy because its first class. Most of the empty apartments are filled with wicker furniture, outdated, small, not to mention OVERPRICED. This project will sell for the same reason Seven Mile Beach and Camana Bay sell. 

    • Anonymous says:

      ummm,how can it be greed if they wont be able to sell the units??

  30. Anonymous says:

    I say we do absolutely nothing to get our economy going..

    Caymanians I understand we can't accept everything that is put out there to jump start our economy but I just can't seem to find one project that the government our private sector has put up that everyone will support,

    We have to stop with this stupid "nimby" foolishness. Cayman is 24 miles long so no matter what we do it will be in everybody's backyard. 

    Cayman is no longer dying a slow death. the patient is in cardiac arrest and if we don't apply some CPR in the form of economic recovery, the patient I call "Cayman" will die. Businesses are failing everyday, people are losing their homes, electricity cost are skyrocketing and crime is rising as the price we pay for people in this situation.

    I have no opinion on the emerald Sound but iti is only one of many things that could provide jobs for us but none of these projects will ever see daylight because of one government fighting the other so that they can either remain in office or get elected  next time around, rather than looking out for the overall good ofour people.

    I hate to say this but some of us Caymanians have stuck our heads so far in the sand that there is very little hope for us. We base our decisions on emotions rather than facts and we follow leaders that are only looking out for themselves.


    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Jobs do not appear out of thin air, perhaps those people who are opposing basically every and any progress and developments on this island can start up a fund and pay the salaries for the hundreds of Caymanians that suffer as a result through lost employment. While you are at it give some money to the Cayman business owners who have a smaller market due to a mass exodus of people from this island. Some people just don't get it and it looks like they never will.

    • Anonymous says:


  31. Anonymous says:

    What was Burns' response to Jurn's question of having no canals? Can someone please let me know as I was not at the meeting?

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      The response is fairly simple. The canal increases the value of the 81 lots to allow a development less than 50% of that allowed under planning. It allows Swales to assist neighbors deal with their water. It allows landscaping, and bicycle and jogging paths similar to Camana Bay. It allows land reserves for future NRA road corridors. it allows single family residential properties.

      Without the canal the development model changes. The best return for the developer is to completely fill the land to 4 feet or more above sea level ( required by planning), and built a combination of apartments and duplexes. In fact we ran a model last year for the developer that shows his greatest return was actually affordable housing using the PAD regulations. So Emerald Sound with it’s heavy infrastructural cost is not the most money the developer can make here. So the “greedy developer” comments are actual uncalled for. That is why for the last several years we see the “San Sebastian” format and you will see more.

      The developer has listened to neighbors and provided for their water run off, has listened to DOE and Objectors and modified the development. Most importantly the developer has spent additional monies to actually do research and studies which now prove that the canal will not increase flooding and that the peat is very shallow on site thus this idea of water staining due to the canal will not occur.

      • Anonymous says:

        My gut reaction to the Emerald Sound development is to be against it,  simply because the area in question in so beautiful.  These are sentimental reasons, I admit.  It won't affect me directly as I live along the SMB corridor, but like many people, I do not like change, especially when it messes with things I hold dear — like this island, especially the way it was ten or fifteen years ago.  SMB has changed an awful lot, and it is unsettling to think of the rest of the island heading in the same direction.  

        However, Mr. Conolly's sensible and straightforward comments here suggest that the development has been well planned and possibly misunderstood.  That, coupled with the fact that he has been so ready to meet with objectors, makes me curious about the development and more inclined to view it positively.  Thank you for posting, Mr. Conolly.  Many developers would not bother to make themselves so available for criticism and questioning.

  32. George towner says:

    A canal?  Wasn't South Sound the hardest hit by Hurricane Ivan?  Why would you dredge a canal there?

    • Anonymous says:

      See the facts for yourself. Grand Cayman Flooding Hurricane Ivan (link below). If they had a Hurricane Michelle Flooding Map, the North West Point would have been hardest hit. In Ivan, it was untouched. The point being our islandis so low, what really matters is the direction of the hurricane. We need to build on stilts. Why is this so hard to understand?


    • Anonymous says:

      Yes George, south sound was hit by Hurricane Ivan, can you remember how the ocean came in and covered  the land… covered everything in it's path, some places 9 feet above the roads and people's property.

      As to my comprehension, South Sound had no canals then, which tells me  canals or not, the ocean will always cover up and flood the land no matter what.

      The water came all the way in to Smith Road, which canal let this body of ocean inland? please tell the country.


    • Stiff-Necked Fool says:

      Why don't these greedy developers build on the land sise & leave our beautiful scenic coast view alone? Their plans will benefit the developers alone & no one else! We will lose our coast (the second most beautiful on the island after the East End coast) while the greedy & selfish developers become rich! I say NO to touching our coast. I do not live in South Sound but I say NO! NO! NO!

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, there currently is no view where they wish to build. But hey, who cares about facts. 

        • Anonymous says:

          What, no view, you must be crawling on your belly along the road, you can glimpse the sea several times before you get to Bel Air Drive travelling west.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I respect Burns Conolly for meeting with the South Sound residents and fielding their questions and concerns.

  34. Anonymous says:

    'nimbys'……their hypocrisy is beyond belief

    • Anonymous says:

      08.08. And where do you live?Perhaps you'll be moving to Midland Acres so you can be close to the new dump.

    • Forelock says:

      These protests are not nimbyism.

      From the story, the DoE report says that the pollution flushing out of the canal will not be sufficiently diluted.

      There is a current within South Sound that runs from east to west. The proposed development is at the eastern end, therefore any pollution will run along the entire length of the Sound until it enters the sea at Sand Cay. The likely plume of pollution will affect every single property along the shores, as well as reducing the natural beauty one of the most scenic parts of Grand Cayman's coast that many people enjoy, property owner or not.

      Property owners must retain the right to try to prevent damage to their immediate environment by a new development. The protection of those rights has been a corner stone of Cayman's real estate market for decades.

  35. Libertarian says:

    The question is if more than 1/2 of the South Sound community objects to this project, will the developer "honor" the community's democratic rights???  Will the developer atleast do a survey to tally those who are for / against Emerald Sound development???

    • Anonymous says:

      why? if there was only 2 residents in all of south sound…could they they prevent all other developemnt in the area?

    • Martinie says:

      What democratic rights are you on about? This isn't an election buddy, just beacause half of the local community disagrees with it is irrelevant, this is a private not a public project. 

      • Libertarian says:

        Friend, look at it this way:  some private projects = effecting the people (the public). Agreed?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is obvious that the developer is only going to do what is in their best interests not the Islands!

      • Libertarian says:

        Sad… and where are our MLA's?  Will they render help to a small community?  This whole premise that the UK gives us a deadline to better the economy and balance the budget; or else, they will impose direct taxes on us or declare full rule on us, is a mere scare tatic!  So what if the UK's reacts, our politicians should not only look out for the people's interest, but their conditional democracy and their environment as well no matter how long it takes and the deadlines enforced.

        And the two-party system makes matters worse, because they are not going to listen to the people and do the right thing if its going to cost them the next election. Cayman is in a bad fix because the whole system is needs revamping.

      • Anonymous says:

        And, let's face it, the developer only has to convince our "one man cabinet" to approve the coastal works licence and the dredging is a done deal.