East-West arterial remains in question

| 10/06/2015 | 30 Comments

(CNS): The proposed public-private partnership (PPP) with government and a group of investors, who are planning a golf course resort development in Frank Sound, to build the east-west arterial extension looks to be on shaky ground. The planning minister revealed that no deal has yet been formalized between the CIG and the so-called Ironwood development, some two years after the announcement about the proposed project.

Asked how confident he was that the project would get off the ground, Kurt Tibbetts said he believed it was possible but appeared less than sure when he indicated it was also possible the developers could start the road but never do the development.

Tibbetts, who has responsibility for planning and the National Roads Authority, told Finance Committee as they debated his spending plans for the next financial year that the proposed contracted between CIG and Ironwood was going through its third round of legal scrutiny.

Tibbetts said that a basic agreement has been drawn up but there was a need to ensure everyone was content, so it was not finalized. He said that once government engaged in the latest legal scrutiny, the plan was for a conference call with the investors, and if all parties were happy, then the proposal would then require approval from London as the development of the road under the PPP would still be a loan and require the FCO’s nod.

Questioned by East End MLA Arden McLean about the likelihood that the either the road or the development would ever happen, Tibbetts acknowledged that the process was taking a long time. Government could not commit to the project proposals, he said, without having the whole thing set out clearly in black and white and has had to go through the proper process to avoid any future shocks and surprises.

Tibbetts said that he believed it was “very possible that the road can be built” but while government might want the road, it was not in a position to do it independently, and even if were in a position to borrow, there were other priorities. But he said the CIG had been happy to partner with the understanding that the liability was with the developers.

He said if the Ironwood Resort was to become a reality then the road would spur more development and could be justified. But he warned that government had to take a realistic position, and while the development might happen, it was also possible the road would be built and the development might not.

In partnership, the road is a possibility, but he said government had to prepared for the worst case scenario, hence why the agreement had to have all of the T’s crossed and I’s dotted.

Tibbetts insisted he was not trying to dampen the project or imply it wasn’t going to happen but he said it would be stupid not to look at it from the perspective that it might not.

As McLean tried to press for more on the proposed financing deal and how much liability government could face, Finance Committee chair Marco Archer stepped in and cut the line of questioning, as he attempted to move the proceedings along and asked McLean to file his question to the minister once the parliament was back.

Meanwhile, as government hunts for someone willing to take the growing pile of used tyres at the Grand Cayman and Sister Islands landfills off its hands after four previous attempts, the Ironwood developers have once again failed to make a formal bid for the tyres, even though government is no longer looking for cash for the mountain of rubber.

Last year the Ironwood management said it could use the tyres as fill for the proposed golf course but this week project director James McVey told Cayman 27 that waste management was not the company’s area of expertise.

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Category: development, Government Finance, Local News, Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This project has been delayed by Gov’t members. Everything else is on track since Feb. Don’t you all remember the news update where they said they had the 40 million to do the road and were just waiting on UK. UK came thru couple of months after that.
    They want old people to feel its not going thru so that if they are desperate they will sell now cheaper. I have an offer at CI$20 thousand a acre just waiting on the road. Not selling it any cheaper. I have never heard back from any ENVIRONMENTAL group about buying or leasing said property. Gov’t has CI$ 40 million in their Environmental fund and they haven’t offered it to Bodden Town, East End or Northside people. Why?

  2. Tired of the BS says:

    Bummer. I guess all the well connected folks with family land on or near the proposed route are feeling a little deflated.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will not happen ever just a real estate scam and people are already making money off it
    I remember being approached by one of your esteem POS officials 7 years ago to buy land
    laid out big maps on his desk and said just pick the pieces you want and you will make tons of money….. that was my first mistake in cayman I should of gotten on the next plane at least I ignored his scheme got ripped off by a bunch of other men instead
    Cayman is the biggest mistake I have ever made And some day I will watch it totally fail I believe sooner than later also

  4. Another Dave in Paradise says:

    Ah road works……..

  5. Anonymous says:

    The obvious problem is the developer has not yet arranged financing. All you have to do to avoid risk is to make sure that if the project does not materialize, the developer eats the cost spent on the road. Duty rebates may be ok, but they should not turn into cash rebates if the project does not go forward.

    • Anonymous says:

      He has said several times that he does have financing and that it is contingent on the agreement, so your point is not true. He has also not asked for any duty concessions – something that is quite uncommon!

    • Anonymous says:

      If the Government doesn’t sign the Agreement, there will be no road, there will be no project so how can there be any rebates if it doesn’t go forward?

  6. Anonymous says:

    For those unclear on ‘why would they talk for years if they weren’t going to build Ironwood’, Ironwood is the icing on the carrot cake. The real cherry is the road building contract (PPP). If Government, through various channels, ‘pays’ for the road which Ironowwod will build (at their expense but defrayed by Government ‘rebates’) then they make a nice profit and keep things rolling towards the carrot some people want (Ironwood Development in Frank Sound) and the profit they hope to make off of that. After ‘profiting’ from building the road. – So thats one good reason to make sure to read the contract carefully: know what you’re committing to before going to the UK and asking if the Ironwood Road Loan is OK. – Right now we, the anonymous commentators, don’t know.

  7. Watchful Eye says:

    With very few exceptions, unless it’s Dart, major developments will always be just talk.

    Two points on the PPM Manifesto:
    – Restore confidence in government.
    – Rebuild our economy.

    They’re still lacking in both, and all the talk about doing it is getting really old. Just do it already.

  8. Carl says:

    I am very concerned about this project not from only financing aspect of the project but also from an environmental impact position. First where will mr. Moffitt obtain the funds to complete the development? From investors? Who are they? Due diligence anyone? Secondly, what about the metal removal issue after Ivan? Has the people of the cayman islands been reimbursed the $1 million? Thirdly, the envorinment I would place this project on the same scale of the port berthing project. What happens to the fauna and the animals when the road goes through and the development starts? What happens to existing homes when there’s no place for the water to run when the wetlands are filled? Will government or the developers reimburse or fill properties that will flood? Fourthly, who really benifits from this? If caymanians cannot obtain employment at the hotels and the other golf courses, how is it they will get employment in this development?

    Lots of questions about this development with no answers in sight. Just the vague old response “the development will be good for cayman and employment opportunities will fill every caymanian plates” how?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ironwood has ads running in the Compass right now looking for Caymanian participation in the road development – they are doing an inventory of all heavy equipment so that they know what is available here. they have stated several times that they are going to hire Caymanians for both the road and the Ironwood development.

    • Anonymous says:

      MC Renovation were employed by the Government to clear the wrecked cars caused by Ivan. They more than fulfilled their contract, and the Auditor General reported that they have provided good value. When they were appointed they employed local contractors, and used local equipment as much as possible. MC Renovation are not the company who owes the Government money.

      Ironwood have consistently promised that when the development goes ahead it will create many many jobs for Caymanians, firstly with the road construction and the construction of the project itself and then further long-term employment within the hotels, restaurants and other businesses located at Ironwood.

      In fact Ironwood have, last week and this week, been advertising in the Compass for local contractors to register their interest to work on the road construction once the Agreement is signed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Ironwood developer has pursued this for 2 years now, if it were not a reality then why would he not have walked away by now. Without the Licensing Agreement in place then the road will not go ahead and without the road Ironwood will not go ahead. Everything is, and always has been, waiting on the Government.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like stall tactics on behalf of the Government – they have taken years to look at these agreements and have been leading the developer here down the garden path. It is amazing that Ironwood has stuck it out this long – no other developer would have. Gov is just trying to pass the buck so that they don’t look incompetent.

    • Anon says:

      You mean the same foreign developer that has been screwing Cayman over more than a decade?

      The same foreign developer who currently has a very lucrative Government contract for fill?

  11. Anon says:

    Have we all forgotten about the Go East initiative?

    ‘Preserving the culture, charm, tranquility and uniqueness of Eastern Districts’

    The programme was created to encourage cruise visitors to return as over-night visitors as well as;

    To create more tourism revenue for the eastern districts (BoddenTown, East End, North Side).

    Formulate the frame work for business development in the eastern districts.

    Determine ways in which the Government could support and promote community-based tourism.

    Develop inventory of existing businesses and meet with entrepreneurs to determine what assistance is needed to pursue the opportunities that arise from the Go East Initiative.

    Provide support for local enterprise and enhance the existing tourism product.

    Preserving the culture, charm, tranquility and uniqueness of East End.

    http://www.caymanislands.ky/foi/programmesproductdevelopment.aspx

  12. Anon says:

    Leave our Eastern districts alone!

    If you want to do a develop there, do something that is in keeping with the character of the area and in line with the wishes of the people of the Eastern districts and the Cayman Islands. That is, development that retains the current character or the area – unspoiled, Caymanian, rustic, unique.

    Not massive towering Mediterranean development ….

    Its obvious that they intend to clear cut the whole hundreds of acres of land – instead of trying to retain as much of the natural vegetation as possible and integrate their design around that. They will be building in the middle of our primary ancient dry forest full of endemic plants which will be put further down the red list an closer to extinction thanks to their road and massive development.

    • B. Hurlstone says:

      You are right, Anon 3:44. It’s another example of destroying our land for the almighty dollar………… and wasting government (OUR) dollars!

    • Anonymous says:

      The architect is John Doak who is well-known here for designing buildings that are harmonious with the landscape and culture.
      Besides – the land is privately owned – if it was valuable enough to be kept untouched, it should have been classified as public land.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Curious, why would the developer put up the money to build the road if they weren’t going to actually build IronWood. They were only going to get their money invested back through duty concessions and there would be none if they didn’t complete the development. Something that can easily be included in the deal.

    As far as the tires are concerned, I don’t blame them one bit for not getting into the bidding process when they’ve already offered multiple times to take the tires and process them for fill at their own cost. An offer that was blown off by the current government just like other offers where blown off by them such as the dump remediation whee nothing has happened as well..

    I’d like someone to explain to my why in the world would these developer go through all the expense if they actually had no intention of completing the ironwood development

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the developer wants this done! he has spent millions already trying to put this together. All they are waiting on is this agreement with CIG, who can’t seem to get it together – after 2 years!

  14. Anonymous says:

    clear as mud kurt, thanks!….. you and the rest of the ppm are on the slow road to nowhere…..

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh come on, there was never any Ironwood project. Move on.

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