NRA reveals no analysis on landfill move to BT

| 17/01/2012

dump.JPG(CNS): Claims made by the environment minister, Mark Scotland, that relocating the landfill to Bodden Town would not impact traffic in the district do not appear to be based on research or proper analysis. A freedom of information request made to the NRA by local activists campaigning against the move has revealed that no reports, studies or assessments of traffic levels were the dump to be moved have been undertaken. The Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free said it has also submitted an FOI request to the public works ministry but  that also revealed that there were no reports, studies, or research that could justify the move. As a result, the coalition said it questions the minister’s assertions about the limited impact on their district.

Scotland, who is Bodden Town’s representative as well as being a Cabinet minister, has stated publicly that moving the dump would have little impact on the traffic levels of Cayman’s original capital. However, Vincent Frederick, one of the leaders of the coalition, says the lack of research or assessment seriously undermines that claim.

“Where did Mr Scotland come up with his estimate of ‘only 200 truckloads’ of garbage' – so 400 more trucks through Bodden Town, every day, when you count the return trip?  On what did he base this rather frivolous assertion that no new roads would be required?” the activist asked.

Fredrick said the coalition asked the NRA for all studies, reports, correspondence, emails, memorandums relating to traffic levels through Bodden Town as a result of the proposed landfill in Midland Acres and any requirement of additional roads. The NRA responded: “Unfortunately, this Authority does not have any record of studies, reports, correspondence, emails, or memorandum relating to new landfill in Midland Acres.” 

Similarly requests made to made to the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture (DAWLA) for “studies, reports, correspondence, emails, memorandums” relating to the selection of a suitable alternative location for the George Town landfill and the selection of Bodden Town also came up blank.

The ministry said:  “…this Ministry holds no records…as you have requested.”  In December the Department of Environmental Health also confirmed there had been no studies or reports concerning an alternative site for the GT landfill as most of the studies conducted focused on better waste management practices at George Town.

Alain Beiner, another of the coalition members spearheading the campaign said the activists were concerned by the persistent absence of any response to the question of who decided on Bodden Town, how, where and when?

The coalition stated that Mark Scotland has indicated that a private study was conducted sometime in the 1990s which found that Bodden Town, while not a first choice for re-siting the landfill, was best for a waste-management facility in regard to wildlife and wetlands.

However, Biener doubted the veracity of the unidentified study which does not appear  to have been seen by any of the staff in the relevant government departments or by the public and which the minister also indicated does not identify Bodden Town as the best location.

Gregg Anderson, another Coalition leader, said the people needed to know who commissioned this study and who conducted it. If it is the basis of government’s decision to relocate the dump to Bodden Town, he queried why it wasn’t filed with DEH or DAWLA so that they could provide the people with a copy.

“Choosing Midland Acres as the best choice in ‘regards to wetlands’ directly contradicts last year’s opinion of the Central Tenders Committee’s technical team, who rejected moving the dump there because of concerns about the potential environmental impact of locating a new dump in the central wetlands area,” he added.

The Coalition said that they had asked the minister for several pieces of information including a copy of that study but so far, other than an acknowledgement for the request, the coalition has not received any information from their elected representative and government minister.

Anderson said the lack of openness and consultation as well as the reluctance of their representatives to provide answers is fuelling the fears of Bodden Towners about the proposed landfill relocation as well as a distrust of their MLAs.

The Coalition has now begun a door-to-door campaign among residents in the district to inform them of their concerns and question how people feel about the proposal.  The campaign began in Midland Acres and will continue throughout the district.  A bulk distribution of the Coalition’s information flyer was also launched, beginning with the Bodden Town and the Savannah post offices. 

Coalition leaders have said that a series of radio spots is also planned to spell out the position of the coalition and why they are concerned.

“We represent the interests of the population,” said Frederick. “We’re opposed to the dump being relocated to our district, and we call on government to solve the problem of Mount Trashmore where it is, without contaminating a new site.  Dart wants the dump ‘out of its backyard’ and dumped it into ours — with no concern for the consequences for our environment, our economy, our well-being, or for our future.  We’ll fight this senseless plan, and we intend to win, ” he added.

The plan to move the landfill to Bodden Town is part of the proposed ForCayman Alliance, which is an investment partnership between the islands’ largest developer, the Dart Group, and the government that includes a number ofland swaps to facilitate more development and investment. Dart has proposed swapping the crown land at the current landfill site in George Town for land it owns in Midland Acres and to finance the creation of what it has said would be a new modern waste management park. 

Dart proposes to then finance the capping and remediation of the existing dump, which is located close to its main investment project Camana Bay, then eventually, when safe to do so, it says it would create a recreational area at the site.

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Category: FOI

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I can not jude whether Midland Acres is the right place for a dump or not, as I quite frankly wouldn't want to have the dump in my area either (and I am pretty sure that EVERYONE feels the same way).

    I believe the real issue is that pretty much everyone has experienced the blatant lies and empty promises made by the governments of the past and present, so if they saythe dump will be moved, it will be made better, run properly and that they have done all the necessary research, we know that everything will probably be done only half assed and at the end there is nobody to be held responsible and accountable to ensure that project is finished properly.

    THAT IS THE REASON WHY PEOPLE CHALLENGE THE MOVE. Everyone knows the dump can't stay where it is at and it can't continue to be managed the way it is, but I would not want to put my life saving (ie my house value) on the line because of something the government says either.

    And no – I don't live anywhere close to Midland Acres!

  2. The Spin Cycle says:

    There should be no worries in Bodden Town. Relax. It's uneccessary Mr. Dart has called it a Waste Managment PARK.  A park. Get it. Isn't language handy? Bodden Town has just interpreted it wrong. More than likely have flowers and trees, picnic tables, swings for the kids. They can watch rats and observe wildlife. It will be educational. Thank you Mr. Dart.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I dont hear dem pots beating anymore….Ha  Ha you fools.

  4. Confused says:

    After this type of PR disaster at what point is it fairto call Minister Scotland a liar?

    This govt spends so much time and energy lobbying and representing the interests of Dart it makes you wonder who pays their salaries or are the burning the oil on both ends?

    It is a disgrace that ‘smart’ politicians like Scotland, Glidden, Anglin and Deputy Premier Connolly allow themselves to look so “fool fool” for their master and Dart who seem to own them all.

    It’s important to remind Minister Scotland and his side kick Seymour they are both accountable to the voters of BT and not Dart!

  5. Anonymous says:

    There will always be those who will be against having the new landfill in their district and trying for a 100 % satisfaction rate is unrealistic. Instead what needs to be assured is that the new landfill will be run like something in the 21st century with island wide recycling as part of the transition. This will likely not win over the doubters but prehaps with time they will accept this new landfill.

    This assurance of a professionally managed site with recycling is vital.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If memory recollects the numbers were based on informed estimates and the guarantee was undertaken that plans would be finalised and completed and all NRA requirements WOULD  be followed.

    This is the hard thing about protesting something BEFORE you know what you are actually protesting. When the plans are finalised (they are being worked on with CIG) then the NRA can inform what next has to be done.

    This is a case of jumping the gun my friends …

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hahahahaha, dat FOI Law is dey match!


    What a glorious day that was when THAT law was passed!


    Gone are the days when politicians can make unfounded claims and the public just have to accept what they say.


    Research away boys…

  8. Reality Cheque says:

    It is ironic that we have such amateur politicians and yet we pay them so much.

  9. Rocket Scientist says:

    I am available to undertake a study. It will cost you.
    For free, what I will tell you, is that the relocation of the landfill to the Midland Acres site, whilst perhaps not to the liking of a small minded few, is in the best interests of the Cayman Islands as a whole.

    • Anonymous says:

      From a rocket scientist to a dump scientist? And FREE services? Something smells like mount thrashmore here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    For years MarkScotland RAN the Roads Section/NRA so I think he is qualified to figure that one out himself. When you subtract 100% of the trucks from East End, North Side as well as the pending trucks from Shetty Hospital and CEC I do not hesitate to think Mark is correct. No need for a "study" on that one.

    Given that 35,000+ vehicules go through Grand harbour each day, the extra trucks going in the opposite direction is really irrelevant, even if it is double what He actually said.  Bodden Town may in fact be better long term to have the facility up there west of Breakers than to have all that Shetty garbage go down through their town. Think guys, you should simply be asking for the Bypass north of Bodden Town instead of having the fastest growing area's garbage go down your town forever. 

  11. B.T. says:

    Mark and Dwayne have not come to the people of Bodden Town. They seem to be hiding behind Bush and Dart support. Imagine the same people they proclaim and declared "no dump," the same people that elected them into office to serve, is the same they would turn their backs on.  Where is the democracy?  Where is the respect for those who voted for you to serve them??

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess money trumps all.  DART speaks and everyone falls into line.  Now it is becoming clearer who really owns this island, the same one that owns the politicians and make them forget who voted them into office in the first place and whose concerns they should be taking the time to listen to and really understand.  I hope they can rely on DART's 1 vote to get them re-elected, because they sure ain't gonna get the rest of the votes (i.e. the majority needed to win), from the electorate that they continue to ignore and let down with their empty promises.  Try coming round to our doors near to election time, and see the doors that will get slammed in your face.

    • Anonymous says:

      Were they elected democratically and properly?  No, so how can we expect them to act so now?

  12. Regular visitor says:

    What also seems to be missing here is a realistic health and safety risk assessment of the proposal to move several thousand tons of possibly highly-toxic waste by road.

    That last paragraph is interesting.

    Quote, "then eventually when safe to do so."

    Been posted here before – there's a lot of very nasty stuff in that dump so it isn't going to be a simple 'clear and cap' exercise to make it safe. In fact breaking the dump up might make things worse.


    • Anonymous says:

      …and continuing to move and store "tons of highly-toxic waste" around your capital, in your densest populated areas, is a smarter idea??? Pray tell….

      No one plans to break up the dump just reshape the top, place plastic sheeting over it ( to trap the escaping gases and stop more rain water entering it) and a thick layer of soil/landscaping over the top.

      When 'safe to do so' simply means when the methane inside is controlled by way of pipes and storage or burn off. In most places this gas is pulled off remotely, stored and used for energy. This is the main external risk on a reclaimed land fill.  The really toxic stuff there is inside and goes into the water table, and in our case, into the North Sound. That is why the new landfill will have a layer of plastic under it.

      No one wants a landfill in their back yard I agree but all the folks who call themselves environmentalists, the users of the North Sound and Caymanians in general should support this move to inland west of breakers. Our dump is the largest environmental disaster on the island–its just that you cannot see it. It is a greater environmental impact than ALL of the dredging in the north sound since 1970 combined.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Minister Scotland, whose interests are you loyal to?  The people in the district who elected you to represent them and their concerns, or those of your party?  It certainly seems like it is the latter.  The Ministers of today need to realize that Caymanians are becoming much more educated and aware of what is happening and are no longer tolerating a lack of openess, transparency and accountability from their elected leaders.  If you plan on having a long career in politics, you better start listening to us and answering questions from your electorate, because if your first term is anything to go by, it is not looking good.

    • I Love Big Dumps says:

      Scotland is one of three UDP members that might be worth re-election.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you should consider taking a dump, then perhaps you might think a little more clearly.

      • Like It Is says:

        You have a great future in stand up comedy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well I Love Big Dumps if it is true that the Hospital is making a profit then yes you may be right but we know how stats have been doctored in the past to make things look better than reality.

        And of course the other problem is that for him to get back in charge of the hospital the UDP would still have to be in control.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can assure you that neither UDP member will get my vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      GO Mr. Scotland! The Bodden Towners fought tooth and nail to have you dump all over them.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a perfect example of why we cannot trust our elected officials in the UDP Party.  Can you imagine that this XXXX minister will come forward and claim that little impact on traffic will happen in Bodden Town with the placement of the new dump in a middle class neighborhood and now be slapped in the face with the fact that NO STUDIES by the relevant departments were carried out?  Where did he get this info from? Oh let me guess.. DART?  

    XXXX  When we have the people we elected driving around in Mercedes, BMW's having a home at the Ritz and living on fat salaries from the businesses they own..the people they serve and the OTHER people they REALLY servce it is a shame.   

    I hope to God that when the time comes Cayman you elect new blood with true feelings and love of country to office.  Get rid of this old set who think that 2012 is the end of the world so it is take what you can before you go out with a bang!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    the nimby coalition in full effect………………….. remember these are the people that think it is a good idea to keep the dump in the backyard of 80% of the population and every tourist who comes to cayman……zzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      ok Mr. non-NIMBY, where do you live so we can put the dump there? What do you think about putting it right next to your house?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, no, it is a coalition of people who do not think it is a good idea to contaminate yet another site in Cayman.   The dump already exists in GT, what should happen is a proper recycling plant to deal with the hazardous material, instead of simply starting up another dump site.   Oh wait, I forgot, a US company won that award by CTC and the Premier overturned it and did a deal with his best buddy DART.  Now you people know what vulture capitalism means, and why certain people are no longer in Argentina, Belize, etc.  Google is your friend, use it and educate yourselves.   Other countries wised up to what was going on and put a stop to it, only Cayman will realize when it is too late and has become DART ISLANDS.