$2.5M port EIA signed

| 13/05/2014

(CNS): Consultants have been appointed to carry out the environmental impact assessment and marine engineering performance specifications for the cruise berthing facility in George Town. The $2.5 million assessment, which will be paid for by the public purse, was awarded following a competitive process via the Central Tenders Committee to WF Baird Coastal Engineers Ltd with support from local firm Bolas Engineering. It includes provision for the marine engineering study, since that must be considered alongside the environmental issues. Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said Monday that this would be the first time the government would ever own such information.

While concerns remain about the cost, the possible negative social, economic and environmental impact on the islands, as well as the location of the project, the government is pressing ahead with the plan to develop two cruise piers in the George Town Harbour that can host the new class of mega ships now serving the Caribbean.

Despite the long history Cayman has had toying with the idea of the cruise port and the various attempts to try and start the project, government has never carried out these types of studies. While EIA’s have been carried out by private entities, such intellectual property rights have never been in the hands of government to inform them exactly what will be required from an engineering perspective for such a significant development in the capital’s harbour and so close to Seven Mile Beach.

Talking about the award at a West Bay public meeting on Wednesday night, Kirkconnell explained that the engineering study and environmental impact assessment would start the project off on the right foot.

"The fact that milestones are being accomplished in compliance with international best practice, as well as the terms of the FFR (Framework for Fiscal Responsibility), attests to the methodical approach this government is taking to ensure the project is managed in the right way from a financial, technical and environmental standpoint," the minister said.

In a media release on Monday evening, he said that with the contracts signed the EIA study could proceed in earnest.

“In assessing possible impacts, the EIA will identify the actions that will be required to successfully protect the vitality of the area and safeguard against unintended consequences. As such, it will be an invaluable tool that will greatly assist my ministry in making informed decisions for sound environmental management, at the early stages of planning and design,” he added.

While officials believe this stage of the project is where any potential problems can be mitigated, Kirkconnell has said on numerous public platforms that if the development of the two piers were to threaten the future of Seven Mile Beach, as many people believe, then the development would not go ahead.

He said that during the preparation of the impact assessment the Ministry of Tourism will conduct public and private sector stakeholder meetings and the process will be closely monitored by the Environmental Assessment Board, which comprises members from the Department of Environment (DOE), Ministry of Planning, Ports Authority, National Museum, National Roads Authority (NRA) and the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Joey Hew, the government back-bench councillor who has responsibility for transport, said that the studies would be finished before the year end.

“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the EIA is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. It will comprise an Environmental Statement (ES) and an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and the recommendations and requirements which stem from it will be incorporated into the final cruise berthing facility planning and construction process,” he said.

“The marine studies will be carried out between now and September, but the traffic analysis; which is an essential part of the EIA, that will also provide pertinent information for the George Town Revitalisation Project, will extend slightly longer.”

Baird is said to have extensive Caribbean experience and it will head up the team of consultants who will prepare the impact assessment. The firm was described by the ministry as an experienced international marine engineering group that provides professional engineering and technical services related to the design of coastal structures and facilities that interact with the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers.

Smith Warner International Ltd (SWI), based in Kingston Jamaica, is the largest Caribbean firm specializing in coastal engineering, coastal zone management, oceanography & marine related EIA’s. SWI will carry out the marine related studies and modelling for the impact assessment.

Also involved is Technological & Environmental Network Ltd (TEMN), which comprises a team of engineers, planners and scientists whose combined knowledge and experience extend across a broad spectrum of human and physical environmental concerns. TEMN has experts in physical, chemical and biological sciences, including environmental chemistry, oceanography, marine biology, engineering, architecture, environmental planning, and project management.

The MMM Group, industry leaders in transport assessment and traffic impact studies for both public and private sectors, will provide the information necessary to effectively manage the interaction of the cruise passengers in George Town and beyond.

Finally, Bolas Engineering, a Cayman-based structural and civil engineering firm which has been providing engineering solutions for over 20 years will provide local coordination.

In May 2013 the Ministry of Tourism issued an RFP to find a consultant to provide financial consultancy services pertaining to the Cruise Berthing Project. In keeping with international best procurement practices, which follow an open and transparent process,

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was named by the CTC as the successful bidders. They then prepared the Outline Business Case (OBC) and subsequent tender documents. 

The OBC, which was prepared in October 2013, confirmed that an environmental impact assessment would be undertaken for the proposed facility. The Terms of Reference for the EIA were prepared by Mott MacDonald Limited in collaboration with the Environmental Assessment Board, and were reviewed during a public consultation process undertaken by the ministry in November 2013.

The RFP to identify a consultant to undertake the environmental impact assessment was issued by the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism & Transport (DAT&T) in December 2013.

All related reports associated to the Cruise Berthing Facility; including the Strategic Outline Case, Business Case and Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Assessment are available on the Ministry of Tourism website.

The Strategic Outline Case developed by government in April 2013 set out eight options for consideration, varying from a ‘do nothing’ option through to a two pier solution accommodating four ships. In this document, government also defined the financial, technical and environmental factors that would need to be reviewed for the preparation of the next and more detailed stage, known as the Outline Business Case (OBC).

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, this 2.5mil could have done LOTS for a mental health facility, airport renovations and the staff cost of living rollback!
    How many times will we pay for ‘advice’?

  2. UHUHUH says:

    Technological & Environmental "Mgmt" Network Ltd. Located at 20 West Kings Rd. Kingston 10, Jamaica, was established in 1993 which provides comprehensive consulting services in the field of environmental management. Feasibility Studies, Sanitary Engineering, Agricultural Pollution Control, Oceanographic Surveys, Drainage and Flood Control, Solid Waste Management, Water Resources Management, Waste Water Systems Management, Wetlands and Marine Resources Management, National Resources Management, Coastal Zone Management and Oceanography.

    This article states that: Technological & Environmental Network Ltd, which comprises a team of engineers, planners and scientists whose combined knowledge and experience extend across a broad spectrum of human and physical environmental concerns. [TEN] has experts in Physical, Chemical and Biological sciences, including Environmental Chemistry, Oceanography, Marine Biology, Engineering, Architecture, Environmental Planning, and Project Management. Quote – Unquote! After an extensive  google search! This Company is no where to be found online other than in this article.  It is obvious it's not the same company as the one at "20 West Kings House road, Kingston 10, Jamaica".

    Therefore the question must be asked. Was this company formed specifically for, and in conjunction with this EIA?  And!  Why are they needed, especially since W.F.Baird Coastal Engineers Ltd. will be conducting a lot of these same studies!                                                               And I quote: Consultants have been appointed to carry out the environmental impact assessment and marine engineering performance specifications for the cruiseberthing facility in George Town. The $2.5 million assessment, which will be paid for by the public purse, was awarded following a competitive process via the Central Tenders Committee to WF Baird Coastal Engineers Ltd with support from local firm Bolas Engineering. It includes provision for the marine engineering study, since that must be considered alongside the environmental issues. So why [TEN]?                                         

    And this beg another question! Why haven't the names, and the bids submitted by the other competing companies been published?  The "Public Purse" have a right to know!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Outline Business Case should be able to tell us what revenues will disappear from treasury based on the cost of the piers. Whats the current revenue now? I have not seen this information. So if they cost $200 million then how many additional cruise ship passengers per year do we need to pay for the loan over ay 20 years based on current revenue?

    I have an issue with the 200 million injection into the economy as it isnceasing borrowing. What happens if we do nothing? Cruise ships still seem to be coming. Also air arrivals have increased year on year. Will more cruise ship passengers  mean less air arrivals?

  4. Anonymous says:

    They'll spend three years doing this and when the other politicians get in they'll overlook all the findings and start all over again. We as caymanians are like gold fish we forget so easily it's the same foolishness term after term……

  5. Anonymous says:

    The amount of time and money spent on this project is staggering, meanwhile cruise numbers dwindle and not one single brick has been laid.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We should put out to tender for a group of private consultants to look into the tenders for the groups of private consultants that have been hired over the past few years. Then when they have written their report, hire another group of private consultants to issue a consultation paper for the general public to give their views. These would then be analysed, a report written and then carefully and securely filed for future use. Think I'll go to bed now, yawn.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Boing…boing….along came Zebedee! 

    Any room on the Magic Roundabout for a small one ?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The majority of us want the piers built and downtown revitalised.  Just look at the CNS poll!  All of us who work in town and see our jobs at risk are totally behind Minister Kirkconnell and support his efforts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Spending money like it going out of style. PPM in da house! The taxes our grand-children going end up paying, they going hate all of us for sure! 

  10. Anonymous says:

    A total waste of money…..the place to put that dock is in Red Bay (actually the best place is the North Sound but the environmental damage there would be too great)….the EIA should study the Red Bay area atthe same time! 

    I can see it now, Eden Rock, Devil's Grotto, The Cali, The Balboa, Cheeseburger reef, etc etc all destroyed….why???  For a few merchants downtown???

    Common on Cayman, Wake up!!!..before its too late.

    • Anonymous says:

       – 15:36.Looks like you have provided  a free EIA ,therefore your bid trumps that of Buffalo Bill on Tue, 13/05/2014 – 15:02.He offered to furnish his for $1.25million.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is a vanity project and another white elephant by the PPM. Cayman does not need and cannot afford it future generations will suffer because of a blinkered mentality by Moses, Alden and PPM.  They have not learnt anything from the 2005-09 years in government.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. So you are saying that the UDP didn't really intend to have cruise piers built even though they entered into three separate contracts to have them built? Why are you making this a partisan issue when it clearly isn't?  

    • Anonymous says:

                     15:30.Is it a vanity project or white elephant because UDP is not doing it?

      • And Nother Ting says:

        16:35 get a life, make ya self useful and stop making people see ya true pea brain.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is INSANE! The Regressives are back to their old tricks. Its like a group of old men sitting and playing dominos with our future. DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING! JUST DO SOMETHING!

    Its your Island, you know it better than "expert" expat consultants, or I hope you do??

  13. Buffalo Bill says:

    Can we have a breakdown of where the $2,500,000.00 goes?  That's a LOT of cabbage!   I would have been glad to furnish an Environmental Impact Assessment for half that much. 

    • Anonymous says:

       – 15:02.I am sure you could ,but would it be worth the paper it was printed on?

    • Anonymous says:

      Buffalo Bill You offered to furnish an EIA for $1.25 million (half of $2.5 million) but you are out of luck Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 13/05/2014 – 15:36 has made a better offer ,for free.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Pathetically P!$$ing Money at it again.

  15. Anonymous says:

    $2.5M for an EIA!!!?!?! This is the most rediculous sum I've ever heard.  EIA's in other countries for similar projects have costed less than $100K.

    • Anonymous says:

      14:41  You say " EIA's in other countries for similar projects have costed less than $100K"   Can you provide us with links to at least 2 of these so that we can support your efforts..

  16. Anonymous says:

    The marine studies for the EIA will be conducted in the summer.  The major threat to the environment is from the fall & winter storms. The Norwesters and Hurricanes would provide the greatest danger and the marine study is done in the summer?

    "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

    I really hope the Cayman people get value for money with this study because if the dredging causes the problems to 7 Mile Beach that I fear this country is in for a world of hurt.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The airport really needs to be done first..The people visiting by air are the people spending the real money..

    • pmilburn says:

      I totally agree with you but having said that we still need cruise ship tourism BUT not to the point where we sacrifice our environment

  18. Anonymous says:

    Finally we've got someone with the cojones to see this thing thru.  

    Previous governments made questionable attempts.  This time we have a Minister that is following the laws of the land to see it thru one way or the other. 

    I appreciated the time he spent with us at our meeting in West Bay.  I hope others will learn for themselves what's happenin instead of following the naysayers that have their own agendas that keep them from being objective.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Happen or not, we can at least be satisfied that payoffs will not help the decision making process with this lot.

    • And Nother Ting says:

      Will you Swear on a stack of bibles and put ya head on a chopping block? Ya nuts. Don’t you know ya should stop drinking “REDBULL”.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Given the public is not aware of any existing national environmental standards for air/water/soil quality to which an assessment of environmental impact in an EIA can be weighed, isn't this just a flagrant misappropriation of $2.5mln of public funds?  XXXX

    • noname says:

      I agree, this is just another example of the wasteful habbits of succesive governments in this country. For God sake we already know we need the port why waste another 2.5 mil we could use to help the poor struggling people for another environmental consultation? as a voter I am royally upset with this….damn damn damn

      • Anonymous says:

        I think the government has no choice but to do the EIA before starting the project. This will benefit the entire islands not just the "poor struggling people"  Isn't it better to know all the pitfalls, if there are any, before going  ahead with the project.  If not and there are adverse consequences then the "poor struggling people" along with you could be swept out to sea.  Isn't it better to  know?   I am happy that there are people involved that has enough common sense to know that we really need expert advice on this massive undertaken. PPM I wish you well in this undertaking. It is time to decide once for all.  If it is not feasible, then you can go to Plan B and yes it might cost another 2.5 million or perhaps more.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dear "pitfalls, if there are any", please read the Mott Macdonald TOR for EIA.  There are pages and pages of pitfalls outlined.  The first and most obvious is the massive dredging exercise which will pulverize a national marine park and top 5 snorkelling product even in the face of the NCL.

      • Anonymous says:

        No,You don't want the Port,let alone need it.

      • Anonymous says:

        'we already know we need the port why waste another 2.5 mil….'

        Although we may know we need the port, before any construction starts it's important to be sure that any negative impacts to the surrounding area or SMB area can successfully be handled. What would be the point of building the port and finding out after the fact that it has caused irreperable damage to SMB or other lucrative areas of the tourism industry? We can't afford those kinds of consequences. Better to measure twice and cut once – or in this case, do another EIA and be doubly sure that there are no unwanted surprises down the line, when it's too late to do anything about it.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, but, we don't know we need the port. The port may be just another "want" by several merchantrs, some who foolishly overbuilt in anticipation of cruise ship expansion. Stay over tourism is the life blood of Cayman and shippers may not be compatible with that goal. Most shippers (especially Carni shippers) have a $20 bill leaving Miami and one shirt, never shanging either while cruising. Lose SMB and you lose most of Cayman. Do it right!

    • Anonymous says:

      The public cannot be aware of any existing national environmental standards for air/water/soil quality- that is why they are hiring experts to figure all of that out.   The public also did not know that a spaceship could land on the moon but the scientists and astronauts had the capabilities to figure that out and Voila!!  Ordinary John Public is not supposed to know such things.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most of the public is aware that there is a whole planet out there with adopted and universal standards of best practice.  Cayman has made no progress at all – even the simple exercise of reviewing existing standards and adopting one or more, when it might have, given the pasaage of the NCL.  

    • Anonymous says:

      If the government wanted a study, I could give it to them for free:

      1) GT reefs and marine life will be killed

      2) SMB will disappear as these piers are going to disrupt the natual current that flows from WB to GT.

      3) No more cruise ships for the great big dock as we have no beach to offer them

      4)  GT is the wrong place for this


      • Anonymous says:

        13:12.There you have it Mr Kirkconnell another EIA ,for free.How can you turn these offers down?

  21. pmilburn says:

    Once again we have some movement on the long discussed cruise ship port in GT.My one concern apart from the obvious ENVIRONMENTAL damage that we WILL suffer is the fact that will the company doing the EIA study do so with an open mind or will it be done to suit the wishes of the ones paying the bill?

    • Anonymous says:

      i think the ones paying the bill – i.e. all of us taxpayers – would like to see an accurate and objective study that points out the potential negative impacts so they can effectively be mitigated. There would be no point in government paying for a study that isn't accurate as the consequences of doing so would become evident over time. I don't believe any government – this one, previous or future – wants to see the tourism industry destroyed. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    It is incredibly disappointing and predictible to witness the deadset egos of half-witted politicians trumping all reason and pursuing their vanity project in defiance of exisitng and cautionary Mott Macdonald science, and rational (and obvious) consequences put forth by voters and concerned stakeholders.  All the glaring red flags are there in the report, assuming any of these proponents took any time to read it.  Instead, they'd prefer to showcase our own collective stupidity by expending an additional $2.5mln to rehash the same previously reported consequences, which will surely again be ignored.  Meanwhile, 6 months after NCL, there are still no national air/water/soil quality standards to which any EIA can weigh impacts – of course these too were recommended in the existing and unread Mott Macdonald Report.  

    • Anonymous says:

             10:14.      Why is it that you chose to resort to personal insults to make your point,such as referring to our elected leaders as "half witted politicians"? Is it that you felt that your argument was weak without it, or that is it just the way you are?Maybe you were raised that way and can't help it,probably not,or is it more likely that you just don't like them and chose to be antagonistic and rude because of it.It is time ,people to return to a kinder,gentler time ;back to what made us the place that people from all over the world wanted to move to and settle in.I know most of this negativity is being generated by some of these same individuals (the Johnny come lately crowd) but Caymanians we do not have to become like them;instead let's show them the Caymanian way of old and perhaps we can change the mindset of a few of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        If "the intelligent way of old" is to commission expensive reports and not read them, like the cautionaryMott Macdonald TOR, or not adopt any of their suggested environmental standards of best practice, then I think this Caymanian would like less of the "quietly passive and polite" past and more of the "telling it like it is" future – before we destroy the tourism product through political ego.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Good to see a project being handled professionally.  Kudos to the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism & Transport.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Please educate us on the baseline environmental standards we will be using to quantify the long list of known Environmental Impacts that were outlined in the Mott MacDonald Report (along with the need for these standards).  In the absense of any scientific standard (even adopted from other regions) to quantify impacts and damage, this is a deliberate professional $2.5mln boondoggle to whitewash the simple voter minds that ask too few questions.     

  24. Anonymous says:

    zzzzzz…..this project will never happen……