GT plans are ‘more than a facelift’

| 30/04/2015 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service

George Town, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Government’s plans to breathe new life into the capital will be a lot more than a beautification project, the planning minister said, as he gave a broad overview of the project Thursday. “This is not just a facelift … it is a true restoration of the capital into a mixed-used neighbourhood for all,” Kurt Tibbetts told a Chamber of Commerce audience. The minister explained that goal was for government to deal with the infrastructure and changes to the law to facilitate mixed-use within guidelines, paying attention to how things will look, but for the private sector to invest or redevelop the commercial premises.

Government plans to pave certain parts of downtown, redirect roads, improve the look of the capital with more greenery and shaded walkways, increase pedestrian access and develop a park on the old government HQ, the Glass House site. Tibbetts revealed that this would be done with the support  of an “anonymous investor” who has agreed to finance the project. The minister also told CNS that government will need to wait on developments relating to the cruise berthing facilities before it will make a decision about the site of the former Tower Building, crown land in the heart of the waterfront area, which the previous administration had previously planned to turn into a Christian Heritage park with a bell tower.

Cayman News Service

George Town revitalization plans – the study area

Tibbetts and his ministerial team did not reveal any specific or detailed plans for particular developments but spoke about the creation of a long-term strategy that would allow for sustainable development, in which aesthetics would play a major part. Alongside facilitating a rebirth for retail, commercial, hospitality and residential use across George Town, there would be room for cultural development to bring the capital back to life day and night, Tibbetts said.

Speaking to an audience of local business people and investors at a special lunch hosted by the Chamber at the Wharf, he urged them to take part, as he named just one developer as an anchor for the revitalization.

Tibbetts said government fully supported Tim Best, the man behind the ‘Ice Palace’, a proposed entertainment and convention centre, including an ice-rink on the waterfront in downtown George Town between in the area close to the new Reflections location, though no plans have yet been submitted for it to the Central Planning Authority.

The minister said government would work hard to see George Town become a more “enticing environment” for residents and visitors. He added that the “rebirth will give extra umph” to the tourism product and create sustainable jobs. The aim, he said, was to inspire investment from developers and growth in the capital.

The goal to rejuvenate the capital is, according to officials, still in the conceptual phase. Tristan Hydes, the deputy chief officer in Tibbetts’ ministry, along with Kenneth Ebanks, who is now working as a consultant on the GT project, outlined the problems with the downtown layout at present and ideas about creating a more user-friendly capital for pedestrians, with paved areas, clear sign-posting, wider sidewalks, and even a trolley service, with car parks on the edge of the 160 acres that will fall under the plan area.

The men said townhall meetings would be held and stakeholder input was being sought, as nothing was set in stone. They urged input as they said they would be seeking the opinions of the business community as well as the broader public over the next couple of months, with the goal of submitting a broad project plan to Cabinet within four months.

Check back to CNS for more on the GT plans and on CNS Business for a video report.

Cayman News Service

George Town revitalization plans

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Move the capital to Camana Bay.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It constantly amazes me how negative people are, we all know that GT needs redevelopment, we all know that the government does not have the finances or the ability to make it happen. Along comes an investor who is willing to risk his money to make our capital town a better place and all we do is put him down. Shame. I imagine there were the same negative comments about Camana Bay, but that seems to have turned out all right. I say good on Mr Best and good luck to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Either you work for Dart, are naive, or are just ill informed. Believe me you, they do not have your best interests at heart. They are a a major force, with deep pockets, and they care nothing for you are yours. Just look at recent ” redundancies” and see all of those positions renamed and repackaged, and refilled by expats. Do not kid yourself, their only goal is to make money, and to do so with as little cost as possible.

  3. Anonymous says:

    An ice rink like that would require several CIT’s (Certified Ice Technicians). Most are in Canada, and there is a shortage so they are in big demand.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of which reads like the perfect qualifications to do business with CIG 🙂

      Seriously, here we have someone who would probably find it difficult to get a work permit because of his jail time being allowed to head a $30million project on Grand Cayman? I guess nothing like this should surprise any more.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Without a berthing dock all of this is useless crap. This govt is a spineless bunch. If they believe this will p,acate us they are sadly mistaken.

  5. GT voter says:

    Time to hang it up Kirk you’ve obviously lost the plot

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear sweet baby Jesus an ice rink is the centre piece of PPM revitalization of GT ROFLMAO!

    This plan proves they don’t have a plan beyond building roads. No vision should be the campaign slogan in 2017. Unless professionals are involved quit now before you make an even bigger mess of things.

  7. Anonymous says:

    None of the downtown roads can be pedestrianised. This will lead to complete traffic gridlock as we have seen on many occasions when Cardinal Avenue and/or Harbour Drive have been closed for social functions

  8. Sharkey says:

    The new development plan for the capital of Grand Cayman , the park name anonymous investor, the Port new name anonymous port , the capital new name anonymous investor . Mr minister be careful how you use money from unknown people or anonymous people.

    • Sammi blue says:

      They are all anonymous because they do not exist- in Kurts own words “they are skeletons” Kurt really need to sit down now , he just rambles on and on with no substance. What is so sad is that some people still believe in him. please God deliver us from people like Kurt Tibbetts.

  9. Cay Guy says:

    This is good news, I think they better ‘come hard’ and build amenities and attractions that people really like. It’s no longer a case of build it and they will come, much more like ask and probe residents what they would like to see.

    I for one (like thousands of others) have drunk the kool aid per say and haven’t been to hardly anything in town for years. Caymana Bay is a one stop shop for everything and as usual, government got caught asleep at the wheel.

  10. Papa Doyle says:

    What utter rubbish putting the court house and police station out of town on political pundits land will do the exact opposite kill Georgetown dead!

  11. Anonymous says:

    West Bayers planning George Town Redevelopment … Sounds like a Trojan Horse.

  12. C'Mon Now! says:

    Cayman Ice Palace is now an entertainment & convention centre with an ice rink. Why on God’s green earth do people not think critically about projects and the ability of those proposing them to actually carry things to completion. I hope the people who dropped thousands to become founding members of the Ice Palace (formerly on West Bay Rd) get some of their money back. Clearly the timeframe has now been extended by several years for Mr.Best’s project.

    • Just Sayin' says:

      I hope they lose the very shirt off their backs for being so stupid in the first place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Granted, Tim Best did provide hours of entertainment in his 2011 Criminal Court proceedings in London, Ontario, and subsequent 2012 futile Appeal, but he still had to serve six months. All was not lost, however, as the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission, did eventually allow him to keep the liquor license for his bar. Unfortunately his “Money Plus X-Press” machine in the same building as the city Welfare office didn’t go over so well, being as his wife was Mayor at the time.
      Ice can be very slippery indeed.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Moving the dump out of GT would be a start, but no, we can’t do that… let’s go for an ice rink instead lol

  14. SKEPTICAL says:

    This is a case of “pissing into the wind”. George Town is never going to be able to compete with Camana Bay as it’s development continues to expand. Fine, make GT more user friendly for cruise ship passengers, but, on a day to day basis, what on earth does it offer to me as a resident – nothing – apart from the Post Office, and if I could easily move my PO Box to the Airport, I would. The social and retail centre of the island for residents and stay over tourists is West Bay Road and Dart Town.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is a joke go back to sleep KT

  16. Anonymous says:

    I would ask: ” How much of this plan has Dart given input to?” We know that they want total control of the country. So who really are the “architects” of this redevelopment?

    • Anonymous says:

      “anonymous investor’?

    • Anonymous says:

      There are many that regularly fantasize about how pleasant it would be if intelligent, responsible and adaptive visionaries, that love Cayman, actually controlled the territory. Many of us can vote, but, sadly, only from the very small pool of thieving buffoons that pine for yesteryear, and have been cycling through the CIG for decades. No cohesive development plan can hope to be executed because they are completely unwilling to track how they spend our money. If we could privatize the development of Cayman to DART, and bring in accountable people, I would eagerly cast my vote in that direction.

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