Activists call on Beck to stop blocking beach

| 18/06/2015 | 76 Comments

(CNS): A wealthy property owner in South Sound has blocked beach access in the area as a result of unauthorized coastal works, activists have said, but it appears that the planning department is not enforcing the law after it suspended an enforcement notice requiring the work to stop. Activists from Protect South Sound, who are battling a number of questionable coastal development projects in the area, have written an open letter about Jerry Beck’s efforts to extend the beachfront at his luxury mansion home and are appealing directly to him to stop the coastal destruction.

Cayman News Service

Jeremy Beck’s South Sound property

A spokesperson from Protect South Sound has said that Beck’s proposal to use rock groynes, fill and imported sand to extend his beachfront was refused last year but it has not prevented the IT millionaire from pressing ahead with land reclamation from the sea on his property.

This is considered not only a serious marine environmental threat but it is also preventing public access to the beach around the area.  Although the application was denied, activists said the landowner proceeded with similar work, placing large boulders and fill and extending his property into the sea in a Marine Replenishment Zone.

“The shoreline modification has effectively blocked public access along the beach in South Sound, one now has to climb up and down over large rock groynes on either end of the property,” the activists said in an open letter to the press (read in full below).

Although the works have not been given official approval, the campaigners said they are getting no support from the planning authorities on one of several coastal development challenges that are raising concerns in South Sound over land reclamation based on misinterpretations of the law.

In June 2014 the Central Planning Authority issued an enforcement notice but later suspended it for “inexplicable reasons”, the activists said in the letter. Since then, Beck has proceeded with further coastal work, constructing what appears to be a seawall, further “blocking public access along the South Sound beach and increasing the potential of coastal erosion in the area”, the group has said.

CNS has contacted the planning department about the suspension of the enforcement notice and the director said he believed the issue remained under an enforcement notice. However, there is no indication of what has been done to address the unauthorized work and the blocking of access.

As a result, the campaigners are appealing directly to the property owner and say they are calling on Beck to remove the unauthorized rocks, sand and seawall and respect the laws, policies and decisions of the Cayman Islands authorities, as well as the rights of public access along beach coastlines.

“We also take this opportunity to clarify to all coastal landowners that their coastal boundaries cannot be fixed permanently,” the environmental campaigners stated. “Coastal boundaries are ambulatory and change over time with natural erosion and accretion.”

The introduction of the National Conservation Law will in future require the planning authority to consider the environmental impacts when assessing applications and a spokesperson for the DoE told CNS that if the law been in place at the time the Beck situation was being dealt with, there could have been a different outcome.

Given the environmental concerns over any coastal works, never mind those that have already been refused, the DoE had battled hard to prevent the reclamation work. However, experts there have continued to point out that until there is a planning framework in place “that also respects the environment”, the country will continue to witness this type of “seemingly intractable issues”.

For years the DoE has found itself at odds with the planning authority as its extensive reports about environmental and conservation threats with certain developments have been persistently ignored. As a result, mangrove buffer has been torn up, lakes and canals have been excavated to dangerous levels, fill and imported sand poured over local coastlines and now the issue of land reclamation from the sea, even in marine conservation areas, is happening and residents appear powerless to prevent it.

Open letter from Protect South Sound, June 2015

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    it’s really funny when something like this gets public’s attention there so many opinions with very little information…..well the facts are.t

    1. The “BEACH” in that area has been severely eroded over the past few years as much as 40 feet of the fixed boundaries on that stretch of land is gone…meaning that becks fixed land mark is 40 feet in the water.

    2. how i know this i put the boulders that were put in place first to try and reduce further eroding

    3. when we first started the job his beach was so bad that the water was almost up to his pool. and yes there are protocol’s in place however we didn’t break any laws when doing the job and for the record if anyone want a beach to walk on in that area you will most definitely have to put sand back in the water because there is NO BEACH to walk on there….just big sea rocks and turtle grass….

  2. George Nowak says:

    Just another day in Paradise

  3. Beck says:

    I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Consuela Ebanks, we miss you and RIP. God will continue to watch over you beloved isle Cayman and your Mecca while you sleep. Oh how I wish for your input at this moment.

  5. Some of you may remember some years back Mr.Lawrence Thompson went ahead and dug out what is locally called a”white hole”so he could enjoy the water w/out having to deal with the turtle grass.It was not just a scraping of the turtle grass off the bottom this was a back hoe digging down as deep as the arm could go and after this was done the sand from both sides of his home basically dis-appeared and his sea wall just about fell into the sea from the erosion.My point is here that when you disturb the natural bottom this will continue to happen.In the case of Mr.Becks home if what I saw sticking out into the water was done to keep the beach intact it wont help much if at all.The biggest problem with all these fancy homes is the lack of set back from the high or low water mark and with the way the wind has been lately the waves coming ashore in that whole area does not have enough space to expend its energy so the beach WILL continue to erode until the weather changes and the winds come more from the n/east.You may also notice the colour of the water all along that stretch of beach.That is coming from the ponds across the street further to the east as it is coming under the road through the storm drain after all the heavy rains we have had.This I am sure is adding to the strong flow of water along the beach which is helping to strip the sand away from certain homes.I don’t think the groins will solve his problem and in fact it might even make it worse and this will affect home further to the s/west.
    Peter Milburn

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe ALT quite enjoyed the turtle grass. It provided hundreds of cubic yards of fill for a development he was doing next to the field of dreams.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am a big CNS supporter, but I think the facts have been misrepresented. Did CNS fact check with Mr. Beck and the appropriate athorities? What I know of this situation if far different than what is suggested by the above artical.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The story that CNS published is totally wrong so I guess they probably wont publish my comments. If they had spoken to Mr. Beck BEFORE publishing the story they would have gotten the truth, and that would have been the responsible thing to do. I challenge CNS to contact Mr. Beck and get the truth which can easily be verified by the DOE and to publish a follow up on what’s REALLY been happening with Mr. Beck’s back yard, and to make an apology, that would also be responsible thing to do.

    • WaYaSay says:

      You seem to know the “facts”. Why don’t you just come right out and say what the “facts” are?

      Without the “facts”, this story sure looks like corruption to anyone reading this story.

      It is people like you, who keep their mouth shut when they could clear this up, that allows this kind of thing to go on.
      It is people like you who allow Legge to think he has a license to call me and my family corrupt and label all Caymanians as idiots who cant even identify corruption when they see it.

      Let me make my position clear, without the facts that you are withholding ……….. this damn well looks like corruption within the planning enforcement arm, to accommodation another multimillionaire.

      Poor people from North Side and East End are put in jail for taking one conch from a replenishment zone to feed their families…………… This is because good people speak up when the see someone breaking the law.

      Your smugness and “I know what is really going on but I am not telling anyone else” makes me want to puke.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually no one has ever gone to jail for taking conch. They’ve even caught people with over 100 out of season and they got 2 months probation and not even any community service

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said poster and fellow law abiding “Caymanian” our country need to hear from more of “us” like you. Thank you, thank you very much.

      • Bob says:

        Poor people from north side my bottom. No one gets put in the clink there. There is a pharmacy of drug dealing in front on nice Norte but the police drive by and wave to the welcome committee each day. Mr. Miller maybe you can hire some of them to help you.

        • WaYaSay says:

          Bob, I do not live in North Side or East End so I do not know if what you are talking about is true, however, you seem to know a lot about the underbelly of Cayman………….How many times have you called the Police to report this crime ,,,,,,or are you another windbag that knows of crimes taking place in Cayman and keep your mouth shut, just so that you can make snide remarks about what you think are ignorant Caymanians.
          Mr. Miller is the one I read about on CNS that is trying to get Police coverage in that district. Could you just not resist the cheap shot?

          Take some pictures, of both the criminals and the Police as they drive by and wave. Then instead of posting stupid personal attacks on CNS, try writing a letter to Mr. Banes so that the CoP can get the job done.

          How would you even know that the Police are waving at the criminals you are talking about? Are you there with them and are trying to cover that fact by being indignant? Or is it that you do not want Mr. Baines to know your real name because he might recognize it from his records?

          By the way, where the hell is “nice Norte” anyway? You will not even give the public or the Police the correct location………are these people really your buddies and you really do not want them to get caught?…….How can you expect the CoP to get the job done if you send them on wild goose chases to places that do not exist?

          If you see crime…….damn well do something about it…… it factually to the Police……..your indigence and snide remarks do nothing to help!

  8. Anonymous says:

    regardless of planning, or DOE, just go and take a look and ask yourself what’s he done wrong? If anyone takes a look, he’s actually saving the beach from what has clearly been a lot of tidal (or otherwise) damage over the years….and it looks great…..people will moan about anything these days…..what this land owner has done is insignificant compared to the plans to dredge/build canals in the nearby area….that’s where people should be focusing on……i wish Mr Beck all the best and may he continue to spend his money here in Cayman rather than somewhere else

  9. Anonymous says:

    So if a storm washes your beach away you are not allowed to fix the damage ? I bet none of these folks live on the beach side. I would like to see how they feel if after a storm there property was covered in water and they were told that the could not repair the damage. Shore lines are getting washed away all over the world and the reclamation process just returns it to what is was and is required in order to maintain the shore lines or else they would all get washed out to sea. Global Warming is effecting the shores of the whole world all people like this are doing is restoring the damage to the natural environment caused by man.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You people need to stop calling it HIS beach. It is NOT HIS beach!!

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s right, absolutely correct, it’s our beach (the taxpayers’) and we should be funding shoreline stabilization.
      I’m glad that’s been straightened out!

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m 4:11 pm and I don’t understand why people are disagreeing.
        When I talked about shoreline stabilization, and I was vague about this point, I meant that CIG along with the DOE should plant hundreds of mangroves in front of Mr. Beck’s home (on public property of course!!!).
        This is a well documented nature’s solution, as opposed to rock groynes, to prevent and or alleviate shoreline erosion.
        I’m quite certain that Mr. Beck would appreciate this gesture on behalf of the people and enjoy the greenery.
        Keep it green, keep it clean, keep it natural and keep it ours!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Shoreline stabilization would remove all the concrete and concrete monstrosities causing the erosion and destruction of the protective plants. That’s the answer.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it is his beach but their is a public right of access to it up to the high water mark.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yea look at the house built on boggie sand road in west bay. They are also blocking beach access to the public. What will come to this? in a few years we will have limited areas to actually enjoy the ocean.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, what is the story on Boggy Sand Road? The beach access points have been closed off with locked gates.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can still drive through the main boggy sand road, park in one of their driveways and walk to the beach. 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        That is because absent an established right of way there is no right to access the beach from private land. I know one of the landowners on that road, a local that lives on the land side, is extremely rude and aggressive to anyone he or his son find walking up their access path.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, we noticed this weekend that all beach access has been blocked on Boggy Sands by locked gates. What is the correct department to report this to? The path directly across from the designated “Public Beach Access” sign is gated and locked. It is my understanding from residents of Boggy Sands Rd that this is where the public access is supposed to be legally.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Protect South Sound (PSS) and the other Activists of South Sound (AoSS) surely know how to use and manipulate the press. CNS should really do a little inquiry into these stories before they post PSS garbage carte blanche, including their erroneous free legal advice.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t this Justin Bieber’s house?

  14. Wix says:

    I think this Katrina Jurn and protect south sound should work on making sure this canal does not get built which it will. And not hassle people trying to restore the beach front. As a resident of south sound I am happy mr.beck has taken it on himself to work on getting some beach back.

    • Anon says:

      Do you realise his actions will likely cause the beaches on either side of him to erode?

      He is extending his own beach at the risk of all of his neighbours beaches and at a risk of causing serious erosion along a large area of the South Sound coastline.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, I didn’t realize that putting sand and stone on the beach to control erosion would cause the entire South Sound Coastline to erode. Will it also make the island heavier on the side and cause it to tilt and topple over into the Ocean?

      • Anonymous says:

        If the stones were already there and the beach was naturally the way he is intending, no one would be up in arms about it because nature would do its course. Nature would erode it after time and then what would you say then? “Move your rocks so nature can erode the beach in a different manner”?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you build on the beach this causes erosion, every time. Thereafter, you will need to convert the sea to a beach! The sea will reclaim, just wait. The boulders will end up in the swamp after plunging through some concrete.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The comments to this story are staggering. Caymanians have every opportunity (and advantage) in these islands yet, cry foul for everything. Foreigners take this and government give me that. There is always a foreigner or politician to blame. Take some responsibility for your own life!
    Yes, I am a Caymanian… a seventh generation one at that.

    • Anonymous says:

      so your one of the recipients famous 1830 status grant!

    • Anonymous says:

      …but still a sellout.

    • Anon says:

      Rene Hislop is a Caymanian and has done the same thing (much worse) down the road. Beck is an expat.

      This has nothing to do with Caymanians vs expats. XXXXXXX

      It is up to majority of people who do have a conscience to stand up and speak out when they see injustice and wrong being done in their own community, and beyond.

      • Anonymous says:

        your right’s all about who has the money..Rene and Jerry have the money…PPM needs the money…

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s their property and they have a right as well as a responsibility to maintain it..

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is when the government has to take their foot out of there mouth and sieze assets of people that they think can break the law….as far I know and that i have grown up learning is that up to 20 ft of High tide is public property so I should be able to walk around Cayman by the shore and not be trespassing. Even if i have to walk on the iron shore or swim!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I live half a mile towards GT from Mr Beck’s house. This whole article baffles me. After the high tides of last year, the beach around his house and several of his neighbors had been mostly eroded away. The shoreline was very rocky and you couldn’t pass the house as the waves were all the way up to the landscaping at high tide.

    He hasn’t blocked off the beach at all, he’s actually put it back with a low, protective wall which means I can now walk my dog along South Sound once again. The man has done the public a service here, people. There’s nothing at all that needs to be climbed over as the article suggests. Whilst it’s certainly a shame that a wall has needed to be built, the fact is that, had he not done so, there would be no beach to walk along anyway at that part of the Sound.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know this beach so everything said below will be based on the what is in the report. If the case had been clear that the works were needed and would work to secure all the beach, not just a little piece of it, surely planning would have been on board? By adding groins and infilling, and with little study of the impact it could strip the beach further along the coast, it might not, but that’s the point, you can’t leave coastal works to individuals. I would imagine that he would be equally upset if a neighbour built a larger groin that impacted his bit of beach and would want someone to intervene. What drove the guy to do this is the ineptitude of planning to address the issue in a timely manner, that is impartial, best for the Island and understandable.

    • Wix says:

      CNS agenda is becoming more clear as time so on.

    • Anon says:

      And you do not care that he has broken the laws of the Cayman Islands and acted against the instructions of the Central Planning Authority, Department of Planning and the Department of Environment – who are experts in environmental & planning manners and laws of the Cayman Islands etc?

      Do you realise his actions are extremely self serving and while they may extend his beach they will cause the beaches on either side of him to erode? Probably your own beach will suffer.

      • Wix says:

        Do you realize that the authorities have not commented in this article? Do you realize this is soft journalism portraying heresay as fact? You can take these recent BS stories as fact but recently they are being shown to be just BS tabloid rag.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s because you shouldn’t build on the beach. You’re the cause of erosion.

  18. Sam says:

    ironically in today’s paper it read poachers ran off and leave turtle. Certainly I am against this, however what if these poachers were trying to feed their families, or sell the meat to make money to pay their bills, put their kids through school, etc, yet this rich person comes to our shores breaks our laws yet nothing is done? He should be arrested and fined everyday for each rock laying on our shores.

    In this country we tax and rob the poor man yet, the rich gets away with everything and concessions given out left and right yet the poor man can’t get a chance. Why not give small businesses owner a break? Why not lower our utility bills? Give the police the resources to catch criminals and solve some of these crimes? Why not just give the caymanians a chance?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your entire post is nothing more than drivel, and my guess is those poachers you mention were trying to score some cash so they could buy more crack cocaine.

    • Anonymous says:

      so poaching is a “small business”

    • SSM345 says:

      Sam, you are a complete donkey. Crack addicts stealing a mature female green sea turtle that is nesting to feed their habit is not someone who is poor and hungry. These people keep doing this and getting away with it and guess what? No more turtles! Go figure!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe Michael Ryan is getting away with this. AGAIN.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier. Do we apply our laws equally without fear or favor, or not? If yes, great. If no, might thinking people suggest we may have an issue with…

    • Anonymous says:

      @8:13 ….corruption?!?! Be careful….Alden will be screaming “Off with your head” for your possibly treasonous remark!

  21. G.A. Rish says:

    Awful. Reminds me of the missing beach in front if the Marriott several years ago. Too big a monstrosity on too small a parcel.

    Oh well. You can’t buy good taste or sense it seems.

  22. Shhhhhh. says:

    Where does the Prescription Act fit in here? Does it not guarantee the public the right of way “…..up to the mean high water mark or vegetation line, whichever is the higher….” where for the last 25 years they have had free access? The problem is, we missed the boat many years ago by not creating adequate set back from the water line. Other countries did so, and generally do not have such problems, nor do they suffer from erosion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the advice…now everybody will be planting whatever they can at the high water mark.
      PS sea lavender is just great for this.

  23. Anonymous says:

    He did nothing wrong. Mr beck was losing his beach for quite some time now. In fact i was on site for this project and he lost more than 50ft of his beach. Doe and planning came to the site and I QUOTE there only concern was the machine tire going in the water. And the sand was not imported it was local sand . then again i think its noble these so call activists have these concerns but Mr. beck’s (lil) project is nothing compared to other coastal works taking place around the island.(Paper Caymanian)

    • Anonymous says:

      Was ballast removed to make the nice sandy beach that washed away?

      • Anonymous says:

        No. Removal of ballast without a coastal works license and planning permission would be an offence.. Pulling out any mangrove seedlings in the area would also constitute an offence with a 500K fine as it is a marine park. No one has been arrested and no-one has been fined so we can all be confident that there has been no breach of any law.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ahh planning department whata waste I filed 6 complaints about an unlicensed business doing business out of a sea container on Seymore drive Nothing done to this day and the property owner that is in the printing business wont be getting any of my printing business until he ends that unlawful activity on his property

    • Cheese Face says:

      Probably sells fish down one of the “residential” canals too. But hey, that’s allowed apparently.

    • WaYaSay says:

      Congrats 5:46………..If you see the law being broken, speak up and call them out………both the lawbreaker and the Government agency responsible. Thank you

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, can we please focus our energy on the damage our pathetic dump is causing to Cayman and the environment please. This is a mice nuts discussion.

    • Anonymous says:

      This would take a degree of intelligence not yet earned by leadership. The dump is here to stay at least for your lifetime.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The next hurricane passing by within moderate threat range will take care of this problem and re-distribute the sand & rocks to other areas of South Sound. If Govt’ does nothing , nature will .

  27. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone asked why Mr Beck has gone to this extent?? Perhaps he trying to save his beach and stop the movement of sand, as is happening on many parts of the island.
    I agree with ‘Save South Sound’ effots to protect this beautiful community, but lets not jump to conclusions that this is purely an attempt to block beach access.
    Lets have some more pro-active and sustainable solutions to save one of our islands greatest assets from the DoE/Planning/Coastal Works please! From what I understand they are often quick to tell you what you can’t do, but come up blank on what you can do.

  28. SKEPTICAL says:

    Typical arrogance of uber-wealthy individual who is used to getting his own way. It has happened before on the island, and until CIG gets itself some cojones, it will keep on happening. ” One law for the rich, another for the poor “.

  29. Anonymous says:

    An ideal opportunity for the government to show its commitment to the ordinary people and the environment by enforcing the law and if necessary bringing criminal proceedings. But they won’t.

    • SSM345 says:

      The boulders will act as demolition balls through Mr. Becks house when we get our next decent hurricane from the South.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are the kinds of rich people that Alden was soliciting to invest in our Islands? These are the problems this country incurs, when our regulators permit or encourage wealthy people, especially Expats, to break laws and disrespecting our locals! The planning authority and parliamentarians need to get on this matter immediately!!!!!!

      There’s too much of this foolishness happening, here!

      • Anonymous says:

        Huh? LOL….Bush, Joey, Webb….to name but a few named in public and others still in hiding! Wealthy…but…??? You are right on one thing..your last sentence!

  30. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian and I support Mr. Beck. We allowed Rene to get away with it, so now we are paying the price. Until Rene’s reclamation project is dismantled then Beck’s should stand.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think thats the reason mr beck has not been bothered. If action is taken against him then the same action should be taken for mr hislop.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Have you not learned yet CERTAIN PEOPLE CAN GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING THEY WANT, government is afraid to rock the boat….look at the Ritz????? If it was a middle income family doing this, they would have been arrested and charged!!!

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