Mastic Trail threatened

| 16/01/2014

(CNS): A developer who is proposing to build a $360 million commercial, tourism and residential community covering 600 acres in East End has said it has financing in place to construct a 10-mile extension of the East-West Corridor from Hirst Road to Frank Sound Road and are in discussions with government over a public private partnership. However, the development not only poses a threat to the Botanic Park but plans to build the road along the current gazetted path will cut directly through the Mastic Reserve and surrounding areas. The news comes against the backdrop of a critical report from the UK about the lack of development controls in Cayman and before the National Conservation Law (NCL)  has been implemented.

The developers claim that they have planning permission for part of the development from several years ago but they told CNS they are planning to submit a modification application. Despite the magnitude of the proposed development, which includes a town and a golf course among other things, no planned area development (PAD) application has been submitted and no environmental impact assessment undertaken. The developers said that they have plans to do both, but nevertheless stated that construction would be starting in April.

With no buffer between the proposed mixed use development and the Botanic Park, which is the first tourist attraction and environmental resource that is under threat from the  project, the developer’s claim to be in talks with government about the road extension also poses a greater direct threat to the Mastic Trail.

The developer claimed in a press release, “Many affected land owners seeking access to their land have indicated they will voluntarily give the government the land for the road, which was gazetted in 2005.”

However this is not the case for the National Trust, which owns the Mastic Trail and surrounding reserve. The Trust is now exceptionally concerned about the threats and is urging government to re-route the gazetted road as soon as possible.

“The construction of the East-West Arterial from Bodden Town to Frank Sound as presently proposed is one of the most serious threats to the Mastic Reserve and will also affect a portion of the Trust’s Central Mangrove Wetland property,” a spokesperson for the Trust told CNS. “The Trust has worked tirelessly over the past two decades to expand the Mastic Reserve which, in addition to being an important habitat, is now one of the leading land based tourist attractions. We are disturbed at the possibility that years of acquiring land and millions of dollars raised for these purchases could be compromised for road access.”

The National Trust said that there were ways to avoid the “unnecessary destruction” as the road can be re-routed to allow the reserve to remain intact, as they called on government to work with them to keep the Mastic Reserve as the pristine and environmentally significant gem it is. At present, the road’s route, although gazetted, is not set in stone and the opportunity still exists to change the route.

The Department of the Environment has gone on record in the past about the need to gazette a new route for the road before it is too late.

Currently the proposed road corridor from Frank Sound to East End would also encroach on both the Salina Reserve as well as the Colliers Reserve in East End, and although the proposed development does not include the construction of this stretch of road,the National Trust said this would be the opportune time to address this issue as well.

Check back to CNS later for more on the report from the Environmental Audit Committee in the UK which raises a catalogue of environmental risks in Cayman.

See press release regarding the East End development below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I remember the first time I visited Grand Cayman…1980. There were plenty of condos and hotels and restaurants. Everyone who wanted a job was employed. Crime was virtually unheard of. Downtown had a handful of restaurants and shops that thrived. Everyone was happy to see a couple of cruise ships each week pull into the harbour. Then over the years greed came for a visit and never left. Someone saw a business doing well so they decided to open a competing business with funds from an investor. This went on and on until there were so many shops and restaurants that GC looked more like a piece of Miami that floated south than what was so lovely about it in the early 80s and earlier.

    Is another complex really needed?

    I have fond memories of Sunday afternoons spent at the Galleon Beach Hotel. When you could drive your bike down West Bay Road and not worry about all of the vehicles on the road. When you didn't have to lock up houses and cars. I don't know if most people are happier now or not but they seemed to be happy in 1980.

    Enough is enough with development. Cayman's "special ness" has been chipped away for decades now. Leave it alone. Jonie Mitchell's song comes to mind…."they paved paradise to put up a parking lot."

    • Anonymous says:

      It is what it is, Those days are long gone Cayman has joined the rest of the world..

  2. Anonymous says:

    A decent threat of heavy litigation and a sustained lobbying campaign in London should kill this development proposal.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine 600 Acres?

    It has been rumoured for sometime now that a group of developers long-term goal is to develop vast tracks of land in the Frank Sound Area within the vicinity of the Ironwood Project. Tracks of land that will eventually include the Botanic Park and parts of if not all of the Mastic Trail. They have said 'It is just pockets of swamp with a footpath that no longer has significant use, and a garden organised with local bush, all of which can be seen elsewhere. The land is ripe and prime for development.'

    The land within the immediate and surrounding area of the golf course particularly the Botanic Park itself will be affected by the runoff from the golf course. The high nitrogen content from the fertiliser will destroy the plant life which will be the first step in rendering the land useless for growing plant life on the current scale at the Botanic Park.

    Bit by bit parts of our Cayman history, culture and attractions are being destroyed, demolished or having other nationals (Paper Caymanians) claiming recognition for its existence / discovery. A couple of examples include WSPA trying to stop operations and close down the Turtle Farm. They are already trying to stop the sale of Turtle Meat to tourist. If they succeed then they will try to stop the sale of meat to Caymanians. The other example is the recent published claim in which it was said that the Sting Ray City attraction was discovered by the author and his friend, rather than recognising our elder fishermen for developing the attraction over many years ago by feeding the rays with the scraps cleaned from their daily catch at two particular locations in the North Sound both of which are now amoungst Cayman's most popular attractions. Tours / excursions were conducted many years prior to the authour discovering the sting rays gathering spots for himself.

    It is very sad what's happening to us Caymanians in our country. This Re-Colonisation along with the Social & Cultural Re-Engineering has to be brought under control and stopped. For this to happen Caymanians must become aware and reunite (each-one teach-one) with a clear-cut agenda / plan that has everyone contributing their part / role (no matter how big or small) to ensure its success over the long term with short and medium term objectives as well. Breakdown the 'Divide and Conquer' strategy being used on us all in many forms and areas of our daily lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean "re-colonisation".  Cayman has always been a colony.  Just some people too readily forget that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let's start with the rumors that you are trying to start, nowhere in this plan does it state that the plan to develop the Botanical Park or the Mastic Trail. On the contrary the plan says this it will blend in and compliment the Botanical Park, As for the Mastic Trail that land is owned by the National Trust not the developer and it will be up to the CIG to insure the road doesn't effect this location, the land slated for this development is nowhere near the Mastic Trail so stop telling lies.


      Now lets get to the Turtle Farm, how in the heck is this a part of our history. What it is is a 10 Million Dollars drain on our economy every year so people can eat the endangered Green Sea Turtle. If this animal represent our history we should protect it not eat it. That money could go toward cleaning up the growing pile of trash in GT, which will soon be a part of heritage.


      I do however agree with your last paragraph.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So far I haven't seen any valid arguments against this project.  It wil be built on private land and will be subject to all the planning approvals etc that are required under Cayman law.  It will  have to meet these tests and assuming that it does, it will proceed. 

    As for the road, it will belong to the Government and where it goes will be dictated by the Government.  The developer is only saying that he has secured the financing and has the capabilities to build the road for Government because obviously the new road will benefit him as well.  

    To me it looks like he is going to build an amazing place to visit, a place where I might think about setting up a shop and an amazing golf course to play on.  sounds pretty awesome to me.

  5. Anon says:

    This is the link to the October 2012 CNS report on this development proposal at that time with the attachments.   These are the reason why the proposal needs to be fully examined.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reading the link, there are basically against developing the untouched land around the park not the park itself. If they had these concerns they should have purchased the land themselves a long time ago. Whether anyone likes it or not this is going to happen, hell there are already units for sale listed on CIREBA and other real estate sites. What the Botanical Park people should do is offer to work with them to minimize the impact or even use the new golf course to compliment the park. With their knowledge of local Fauna they could convince them to incorporate a lot of native species into their landscaping plan.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CNS –  who actually is the developer? What track record have they?

    • Chris Johnson says:

      You raise a very good point which seems to have been overlooked. Presumably the developer does not require a LCCL as there has been no advertising for such a licence. But can we please have some transparency on such a large and controversial project. CNS you need do better when reporting on issues such as this. We need names!

  7. Kadafe says:

    When camana bay was in the planning stages people moaned and groaned the same way about  it.

    they didn't want the mangroves removed for a development some even swore to boycott it. Now on the weekend you can hardly find a parking spot. Now this development will build a road for us. Win win right? More things to do in cayman,jobs etc? There has to be a line drawn somewhere though. I do not support the idea of the road cutting through the mastic trail. I think they  should divert the road around the mastic trail. It's a wonderful natural place with many caves and trails to explore where our parrots and rare ghost orchid grow freely. Not to mention our national flower the wild banana orchid. And I don't mean to divert the road by five feet from the entrance either! It must be a reasonable distance!And they should not go so close to the botanic park either there must be a buffer zone. That land around the botanic park is the only place in the world that our endangered blue iguana can be found abundantly in the wild. If they can satisfy those two requirements then I'm all for it..

    • Anonymous says:

      These accommodations you suggest are EXACTLY what entities like the DOE and National Trust are also suggesting. No one is saying don't do it at all.

  8. Cow Itchs says:

    Let's get started!  Let's destroy our original and oldest ancient forest of Cayman!  Oh yes it will feed a few Caymanians..for at least 2 years, and pay for lots of imported labour!  so worth destroying something as beautiful and irreplacable for a golf course.  Who cares about the natural beauty of Cayman anyway?  By the time we die it will be full of desolate buildings and concrete anyway.  Hell let's pave over the botanic park as well because who cares about a bunch of trees.  U frickin idiots!

  9. Anonymous says:

    With all that empty land between the existing road and frank sound road there shouldn't be any issues routing it to avoid the Mastic trail.

  10. SKEPTICAL says:

    Does anybody else wonder why on earth we need another development of this sort in this location – it smacks of  building just for the sake of building, and no other – a Cayman " Bridge to Nowhere ". Has anybody seen a Business Plan which clearly shows that the demographics of that area demand such facilities, or that it is economically viable. As for the potential damage to the two wildlife sanctuaries –  we can only despair at the failure of the public to understand their importance not just for the present, but for future generations.


    • Anonymous says:

      Well let’s think for moment, the developers are willing to sink 360 Million dollars into it plus pay for a new road. Do you really think they would do this without an adequate business plan that shows it’s economically viable. And if you read the release properly it shows no potential damage to the Botanical Park. As for the Mastic Trail it’ll be up to the CIG to Gazette the road correctly so it doesn’t impact that site.

      Oh and by the way, future generations will need jobs.

      • Anonymous says:

        Riiight, because any claims should eb taken at face value. You don't believe the claim 'it will damage the Park' because the press release claims otherwise? Methinks we need more facts and less rhetoric, from all directions.

      • Anonymous says:

        All they are building at the moment is a quicky-mart. I think people are afraid that the land will be scraped bare and the project later be abandoned or languish unfinished for years as has happened all too often. Let's see the color of their money.

      • SKEPTICAL says:

        The developers are committed to a $360 MILLION dollar investment – how niaive are you, and how long have you lived on the island. Who has done the Due Diligence on these people. In the 40 years I have been here there have been so many pie in the sky  development proposals which have gone nowhere and ended up with faded roadside advertising boards, I have lost count. Who is going to move there – Savannah and East End are already well served by existing retail resources. Championship standard golf course – do you have any concept of what is involved in maintaining such a facility, even if it actually turns out to be really good, in an area which does not enjoy consistently high rainfall. And who is going to come and play there.  East coast American golfers, particularly in the South East, are up to their armpits in easily available challenging courses, and if they want something special, it is a two hour flight to Bermuda with at least half a dozen serious courses. This seems to be another " smoke and mirrors" deal, with a hidden agenda.

      • Anonymous!!@##!! says:

        Is this going to be another one like the dock in EE, just because they have deep pockets, dont mean that its good for the people of Cayman. 

        I hope and pray that Arden and Ezzard march again. XXX how many millions will they reap from destroying the beauty of the two last undeveloped areas in Cayman?  They want the tyres for free and what else, free customs too?


  11. Anonymous says:

    They build extended roads over lakes, rivers, ocean. I am sure it could be buit over enviromentally protected area. Over, not through.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing sounding project!  this is exactly the type of development that is needed in EE/NS – one place where eveything happens.  The alternative is a bunch of people putting up a bunch of smaller buildings all over the place, which is even more detrimental to the enviornment.  

    I agree with 10:44 – there is nothing in this story to indicate that the Botanic Park is threatened at all… in fact, with that kind of nice tourist traffic, the Botanic Park is likely to welcome more paying visitors than it has seen before!

    Bring this on – and sooner rather than later.  We need the economic boost and jobs.  There must be a way to get around mastic…. let's think outside of the box and make some positive things happen.  

    • Anonymous says:

      The Jobs that come only go to a few Caymanians most of teh labour is imported; just take a look and the Cayman Health City jobsite.

      • Anonymous says:

        They have said that they are going to use local contractors for the work and that these contracts are already under discussion – see the Cayman 27 clips

      • Anonymous says:

        So what your saying is that the reports about Caymanians working at the Shetty site are false ? Have you actually been there and can you tell us who the majority of the workers are ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Could that be because the so called unemployed cannot be bothered to do the jobs?

  13. Anonymous says:

    If done well, a road would not necessarily damage the trail or park. Every national Park in the USA has roads through it. Unfortunatley, whenever a new road gets built in Cayman, they bulldoze a 500' right of way for a 30' road. A good example being the ugly scar of the South Sound road where a quaint and scenic road used to be. Intelligent and reasonable people should be able to work out a compromise that satisfies the needs of everyone.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What in the world is Grand Cayman thinking?  I would personally never visit again!  I purposely come to the Island to enjoy the beauty and relatively no developments on the East End, or North Side. This is getting ridiculous!  This is not going to bring in more visitors to the Island.  When I was there a couple months ago I was in shock with how much has changed.  The cost is extremely high to be there and we do choose to go because it is not commercialized.  I do not stay in Georgetown area because I go to relax.  I don't want it to be busy and I don't want to look out from my Lanai and see more houses.  I think this is a bad move for Cayman, but hey I am just a paying visitor!

    • Anonymous says:

      If that's what you want, you should buy your own 500 Acre property or small provate island and leave it undeveloped for you to enjoy. Cayman cannot survive only to please a hadfull of people that like isolation..

      • spotsydebbie says:

        What you don't understand is that it's killing your Island…killing the reason tourists want to come in the first place.  I, for one, am done with your Island, anyway, as a result of the lack luster police force there and the things that they allow to happen to innocent women and babies.  Once all the tourists are gone and won't come back, then you'll be crying.  I'll spend my money in civilized Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, thank you!

      • Anonymous says:

        If you have no visitors to the Island, where is the money coming from?  If we want developments we might as well stay where we live.  We go to see an undeveloped area.  I don't like paving paradise to put in a parking lot!!!!! Cayman will not survive unless your government gets their heads out of their arses.  The visitors are what keep the Island going, right?

        • Anonymous says:

          Stay home then, you know that developed place that you are allowed to prosper. The Caymanian people need to prosper as well. There will be plenty of people that will love to visist this place and enjoy a nice game of golf. Even with development Cayman will be a beutiful place. If you want islolation try visiting the Brac or Little Cayman..

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, Visitors do help fuel our economy but unfortunately we cannot cater to one person such as yourself or a specific group or demographic. So I am sorry to inform you that your decision to no longer visit will not mean the end of days for us.

          • Anonymous says:

            BUT I am not the only visitor that will no longer come.  There will be quite a few that will not come due to the development.  I know the area very well, as I have visited many times.  I visit those areas where there are no development so I can see the beauty that Cayman has to offer. How in the world will this help the locals?  Are you saying they will hire Caymanians?  I believe most of the workers on the Island, that I came in contact with, WERE NOT CAYMANIAN!!  So, please tell me how this will help the economy.  If it is to play golf, why would they come to the Island, when there are plenty of golf courses all over the world.  Wouldn't you want to be known for your flora and fauna, instead of a golf course, or a development in the middle of Frank Sound?  Caymanians are burying themselves and it seems like it is fueled by greed!!  

            When I was most recently on Island, I spoke to many, many people.  Most complained about the prices, nasty people, drunks walking the beaches at night, leaving garbage, etc.  Many did not have nice things to say about the Island, which was once beautiful.  The changes that have been made are being felt by everyone that visits.  So it is not just the Caymanians who are seeing it, its the visitors too!

            • Anonymous says:

              Sorry you feel that way but plenty of people will still come and yes to play Golf, one thing that that Golfers like is to try different courses. I can detect the anger you have but truth be told Cayman was never famous for its flora and fauna it was famous for its safety and for Seven Mile Beach. Not the isolation of Frank Sound. And even with the rising crime, Cayman is still one of the safest Caribbean Islands. And yes, I agree that Cayman is not the way it used to be but neither is the rest of the world. As far as your statement about most of the workers on the island not being Caymanian you are right because the Expat population is larger the Caymanian population. But developments like this are needed and yes they will hire Caymanians that are qualified, work hard and will become an asset to the business. A world class golfcourse will bring new life to the East End, sorry you can’t see that.

              You on the other hand sound like the selfish one to me because you do not want to see Cayman grow. I think you prefer the times when Caymanians were fishing, pickle Cassava and maybe weaving you a straw hat or basket.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you even know where Frank Sound is? The actual location of this proposed development? It won't affect the view from your "lanai". It's inland in an area that is largely surrounded by residential properties (not tourist/short term rentals) and small local businesses, a school and a couple of tourism attractions. You can still hole up along North Side Rd, Rum Point, Cayman Kai, or even along the coast in Breakers and East End. This development is a new tourism (and commercial, etc) area, not changing the character of any current tourism area.

  15. Sea Urchin says:

    How is this possible considering the recent passing of the NCL? Also how can government partner up to complete this road when owners of land for the previous bypass has not been paid? Wayne Panton where's the accountability? Ezzard and Arden you guys quiet? Or is it job creation more important than the envoi meant  and the  future of our children?

    • Anonymous says:

      Without job creation what future is there for our children..? Answer if you can.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We cannot eat anything in the Mastic Trail but a new road will bring jobs and food for Caymanians…I say lets get started…WE ARE HUNGRY!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are not hungry. Stop being so overly dramatic.

      • Cayman Concern says:

        Need a job, NWDA is open 8:30-4 :30

        Not skilled? Has your MLAs to start vocational training. Ask your Gov to re-look at 20,000 work permits.  Common sense says it costs less to get you a job than to pay your family social services.  (If politicians truly want to help and not just buy votes) 

    • Anonymous says:

      Then stop wasting time posting on CNS and go get a job!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you're exactly right.  Let's pave over everything for the sake of (potential, but highly unlikely) short term gain.  It's shocking that with your level of ignorance you are hungry and can't find a job.

    • ADVISOR says:

      Well get a job – even if it is as basic as marshalling shopping trolleys at one of the supermarkets, or stacking shelves. A job is a job however demeaning (look it up in a dictionary) because it means that every Friday an employer hands you a cheque or some cash, with which you can buy food for you, or you and your family. If subsequently you are able to apply for a job which better suits your qualifications/skills/experience, at least you can show that you have a work ethic. A period of time sitting on your ass bellyaching is not something which wil look good on your Work Record.  A wage earning job is not always what you would like it to be – but it is what you need, to pay the bills and to retain/restore your self respect, and the respect of others. I know, I have been there.

  17. Nature At Risk says:

    We have a government where the few call the shots and the people, especially those living in the eastern districts have no direct say in legislations. Isn't the law suppose to serve the people – not the other way around?

  18. Anonymous says:

    What type of threat does it pose to the Botanical Park ? The press release says that the site will blend well with the Park. High-end golf courses are for most part landscaped well and are naturally beautiful check out some of the Arnold Palmer designs here ( ). There sure to dig a few large lakes there as well which with the correct drainage should help with some of the swampy conditions in that area. And if they use mostly local fauna it could actually compliment the botanical Park. I certainly hope they consult with them on the landscaping design.

    As far as the road is concerned don’t blame the developer for this it was the CIG that first gazetted the road long before he came along. Hopefully they will be able to avoid any damage to the mastic trail but we all know this road is needed and has been planned for a while but the CIG couldn’t afford it. I also believe that some land owners in the area would be willing to give up a little of their land for the road because without it most of the land is useless.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your last paragraph is correct. Also CIG reserved that thoroughway long before any Botanical park came along and i think the mastic trail was developed after.

      Both of these parks are encrounching on the Gazetted road way of CIG. ( the Caymanian People's roadway)

      The best thing to do now is to come to some compromising agreement. We cant allow to not develop because of these parks and people with indoor-life -time-jobs bitching about developing for the future generations. They dont want one grass blade touched, now  that they are secured for the rest of their lives.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nearly had a heart attack, misread the headline as "Mac Trial Threatened"!

  20. SSM345 says:

    Can we just get it over with and pour a concrete slab across all non-developed areas in Cayman, it seems its going to happen anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      Save the mosquitoes and the ticks, to hell with people, where did we import the idiots that came up with this mentality. Sure hope the Government will ignore these fools and get the road done asap.

  21. Anonymous says:

    It would be a sad sad day indeed if this road cuts through the Mastic Reserve.

    How embarassing for Cayman in the international community to build a road through a dedicated environmental area.

    • Anonymous says:

      The National Conservation Law passed about a month ago and already a serious threat to the natural habitat and what should be deemed 'protected'land is under attack in the form of the new road which has received CPA approvals. 

      This is a test for the PPM either the intent of the NCL was real or just a PR exercise considering they botched the Immigration law amendments and the economy and unemployment is exactly the same eight months later.

      The East-West arterial and the GT dock considering the potential negative impact on SMB are real issues with serious consequences so I hope they know and understand the NCL

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to worry, Mother Country will have her environmentalists here to protect the flora and fauna!

      Gee, the Conservation Law passed just in time for landowners to claim which parcels of land have need for most protection and they can offer if up to government for a lease, get paid for protecting the land and still have title for their future generations.

      Wonda how many of dem MLAs got land along his projected path? My mind is busy tonight!!!

      What a deal!


  22. Anonymous says:

    OMG! this Progress could hurt the Cat boat industry and make land values go up

  23. Anonymous says:

    The cost to the environment will be exceded by the benefit brought in by the development. Land owners, your parcel values will shoot up some 5,000-10,000 per acre because of the road extension, so do not complain !

  24. Anonymous says:

    But why would things like the environment get in the way of property rights?  I mean we don't live in the environment do we?

    Interesting fact of the day "property rights" is an anagram of "money, money, money".

    • Anonymous says:

      If money is not important to you . Then buy all the undeveloped land you think is so valuable as sensitive swamp. Because its very cheap CI $ 20,000 per acre . Stop complaining and put the money, money, money in the landowners hand. Honestly sick and tired of the complete stupid comments about undeveloped land. Its the cheapest land in the Cayman Islands and all you can hear from mostly rich foreigners is save the swamp . There is no land owners that won't sell you land. Buy it and do whatever you want too . DONE

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, thats the point. They (the Trust) did buy it. To protect it. In perpetuity. But now someone else (Gov/Developer) is going to put a road through it. Money talks and good intentionsget paved over.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice touch with the sign off "DONE".  It just confirms you are a tool.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This would be a very, very sad day for Cayman. It's discusting to think of this as a very real possibility and a very real threat to the survival of two beautiful places. At a time when we're already eating away at the edges of the island for profit, this really is sickening.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would like a truthful answer from you.

      Do you visit either Camana Bay or the Ritz?

      If yes, then sit down and shut up because other than Hurricane Ivan those are the single largest changes in the natural environs here in Grand Cayman. 

      • Anonymous says:

        How about a truthful answer from you:  Were either of those projects built in environmentally protected areas?

        • Anonymous says:

          I don't know the answer, and I'm not sure what it has to do with this article either.

          I'm assuming the answer to your question is yes, but so what, that doesn't mean a prescedent has to be set young man.

      • Anonymous says:

        As it happened I was sat down when I wrote that, and I was silent too.

        I think you're missing the point somewhat unfortunately. You seem a very angry young man, either that or a wind up merchant.