Court helps protesters

| 19/10/2012

photo (6) (247x300)_0.jpgCNS): Activists fighting to prevent the on-going land reclamation by a developer in South Sound have obtained an injunction from the Grand Court to at least temporarily halt the work until a legal hearing on Tuesday. With less than half of the proposed area of reclamation filled, a significant amount of the marine environment, and in particular the mangrove replenishment project under threat, has won a stay of execution. Meanwhile, the chief justice has also extended an injunction at Safehaven to halt work on a proposed marina development there until a trial resolves the disputes between the Port Authority, developer Michael Ryan and several local boat captains.

The injunction which has put a stop to the work in South Sound was sought by a local protest group after a request before the attorney general to seek an injunction by the DoE regarding a decision by the CPA had languished unaddressed. The injunction was obtained on Thursday evening and served on RC Estates on Friday.

“Protect South Sound welcomes this development which will halt further environmental damage and mangrove loss in South Sound – while the various authorities consider the outstanding legal questions,” a spokesperson from the group said Friday. “While a considerable amount of fill has been placed in to the water since Monday morning, less than 50% of the area has been filled. The area in question is a Marine Replenishment Zone and designated ‘Scenic Coastline Zone’ by The Development Plan (1997).”

Although both the planning and environment departments had strongly advising against granting permission on 15 August this year, the Central Planning Authority (CPA) gave RC Estates permission to build a seawall 50ft beyond their previously approved seawall location and reclaim land out in the ocean to a 2003 boundary along some 2,000 feet of South Sound coastline.

That decision was appealed by the group, who believed the CPA erred in law as a sea boundary cannot be fixed. Nevertheless, despite the appeal the developer began filling the land this week and had poured a significant amount of marl into the ocean and on top of a mangrove replenishment project that had been financed by a grant received by the Cayman government, via the DoE, from the US Fisheries and Wildlife Services.

Meanwhile, the courts also extended an injunction for a group of local boat captains who are in dispute over the plans at the public marina in Safehaven and the concerns that a temporary site as well as the future proposed development will not be fit for purpose and will threaten their livelihoods.

On Wednesday Chief Justice Anthony Smellie extended a court injunction and directed the case to trial. For more than 20 years the captains have used the dock at Safehaven, which is owned by the Port Authority but which has been leased to developer Michael Ryan for the proposed Dragon Bay project. However, they are concerned that plans to provide a new replacement marina nearby will not meet their needs. Work had recently started at the site and the captains were asked to leave but they sought the injunction against the work so they could continue their operations until the wider questions could be addressed at trial.

The chief justice said this week that the site should be preserved until the full legal hearing and ordered that the work stopped.

Related articles on CNS:

Mangroves perish under fill

Boat captains wait on chief justice’s decision

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  1. peter milburn says:

    As I have said before in another blog.This man is taking far more than he is entitled to if indeed he is entitled to any since what nature has taken away should not be allowed to be taken back.Its the price one pays for building on land so close to the water.I am not sure if too many people remember when he first built that large house he owns now how he went and pushed all that marl out into the mangroves and reclaimed all that area which as far as I know belongs to the Crown.Queens bottom I think its called.But this is Cayman and people are allowed to do whatever they want to do and no one but a few of us seem to care about that daily destruction that is taking place for the sake of the almighty dollar.Nature will exact her revenge in the long run trust me on that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poster Tue, 10/23/2012 – 08:46…..Again you talk about what nature has taken away should not be allowed to be taken back…I ask a real serious question then, Why were the mangroves replanted since nature took them away? Leave Rene alone and move on to more important things. Another thing, are all the divers and eco-tourism providers going to stop eating seafood since they care so much for the environment? The less you eat the more the tourist will see. Rene is trying to provide for himself and his family so what is your problem? The other developer a stones throw away filled his area in and where were the Caymanian protesters then? Hello? Hello? Exactly no one there…he's finished and already submitted his after the fact application. BUT Mr. Rene asks permission gets approval and there you are…pitch forks and torches in hand!!

      • peter milburn says:

        You are certainly entitled to your opinion but why hide your name?We can agree to disagree but not hiding behind anonymous

  2. Anonymous says:

    Things that make you go HMMMM…..

    With public opposition from:

    – government department heads, including Dept of Environment and dept of planning, and many others unable to speak up publicly.

    – various NGOs (non gov orgs), representing different concerns and issues 

    – the surrounding neighbours and the harmony of a neighbourhood

    – the general public, comprising islands-wide supporters.

    Shouldn't we all scratch our heads a bit and say "HMMMMMM"….. and take a closer look?  

    Not to point ANY FINGERS at anyone….   and certainly not to postpone a land owner from developing land in a way that is sustainable for all the major stakeholders in Cayman.

    Just to look at and consider other alternatives and approaches.



  3. Anonymous says:

    It is interesting that this individual who is born in the Cayman Islands goes ahead and simply does what he wants. Look at all the marl already in place and now there is a court injunction.

    If Dart had done this Ezzard and Arden would be marching along the South Sound and screaming on Rooster about it.

    Don't tell me there isn't a double standard.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am SO relieved to hear this. 

    Restores my faith at least a bit that law and government are here for the common good. 


  5. Anonymous says:

    This is an unbelievable decision, and there have been some questionable injunction decisions over the last few years.  What security have these "captains" given for their cross-undertaking as to damages?

    • Anonymous says:

      FYI. this has nothing to do with the sea captains proposal nor Emerald Sound project. This is a follow up to a CPA decision some 10 years ago. This CPA merely modified that earlier decision. The works undertaken is based on planning permission the developers received. May be a bad decision of the CPA but developer has not done any wrong at all.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with stoping this project….. WHY…… Because everybody knows that this man land did not go that far out as I am just 45 years old and all my life before and after hurricane Gilbert and Ivan the land was never that far out.Its just there way of putting it go and talk too some older folks and you will hear the same thing.There was never no land there maybe when Columbus found us but Mr.Land owner was no where in site. I wish that everybody that owns beach land will claim it right back to the reef as I think thats where everybody land starts lol

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is asmall but significant step in the fight against corruption.

  8. REAL WORLD says:

    If you are stupid enough to buy a waterfront property which might be subject to gradual and/or catastrophic erosion in consequence of " NATURAL " events, then you have to live with the consequences – tough bananas – I believe that one of the various "let out" clauses for insurance companies for property cover, is an event deemed to be "An Act of God". XXXX

  9. suomynona says:

    are we finally seeing some common sense return to the Island. Oh its been missing for so many years in the name of greed…  

  10. NeoSurvivor says:

    I completely support this injunction.   Why?   Because things are moving to quickly, as they often do here; before we know it, changes have been made and it is in our rear view mirror, and thus we are unable to influence the change.  


    We………. and I mean ALL of us……… need time to review this issue.   Sure, I can feel for a landowner that lost beach due to Ivan;  the tides bringeth and they taketh away.    I can also feel for mangrove — and really, I don't care which variety………  that has the potential to positively affect our shores.   I know people on the Sister Islands who own "beachfront"  (ironshore), and refuse to remove the Sea Grape.  Why?  Because it protects.   It captures rock and buffers the high seas when the hurricanes come.   


    It's often a good thing to step back and study a situation.    This is a situation that bears studying, imo.