Coral move in excess of $40m

| 05/10/2015 | 88 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tube Sponge on Balboa Reef (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): Local marine experts have said that an efforts to relocate the extensive amount of coral under threat from the proposed cruise berthing facility will cost a minimum of $40million and it is exceptionally unlikely to succeed. The latest warning from the National Conservation Council comes in the wake of the premier’s announcement that the massive threat to George Town’s environment is not enough to derail the project and it will be moving to the next stage.

The NCC however has pointed out that the recent finding of the second seabed survey which although flawed has confirmed the original Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) results The survey also makes it clear that the success of coral relocation on the scale necessary for the reefs in George Town harbour would be complex and costly with limited chance of success.

However with no cost analysis and no sign of the PricewaterhouseCoopers updated outline business case, (OBC) which government has claimed to have but has not made public, the $40million estimate is based on information the NCC were able to get from experts in the US.

“Cost information obtained by the Council from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary indicates that relocating 134,000 corals would cost well in excess of US$40 million,” the members stated in a release this weekend.

“Coral relocation will not achieve “no net loss” of coral in the direct impact zone and will not mitigate indirect impacts outside of the project footprint,” they also warned, adding that no suitable recipient site has been identified and the concern among local marine experts is that even if the coral could be moved there is no suitable place.

“Coral translocation is, in fact, not mitigation for the in situ coral but a compensatory measure that should not be considered until mitigation in the form of avoidance or minimisation of the impact in situ has been completely ruled out. Until it can be satisfactorily shown that there is no option, other than a Cruise Berthing Facility in the form and location proposed, then mitigation has not properly been considered,” the council added.

Raising a number of concerns about the second survey which did not follow its terms of reference which were not prepared or reviewed by the EIA Steering Group in accordance with original Cabinet guidance.

The review of the survey once again gives clear indication that the facility will cause significant destruction and will undermine a major element of Cayman’s tourism attractions but the public have not yet seen how the cost of the damage or mitigation efforts will add to the overall price tag for the project.

CNS has asked the tourism ministry when the updated OBC will be released and we are still awaiting a response.

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (88)

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  1. SKEPTICAL says:

    Somebody has made a very valid point. $40 MILLION to replant coral which will almost certainly not work, against $20 MILLION for Jetways at the new airport to guarantee comfort to stayover visitors, both on arrival and departure. These people spend far more than cruise ship passengers, and support far more employees in the tourist sector, in hotels, restaurants, and bars. Which employees generate far more spendable income, on island, than the poor bastards struggling to live on their commission earnings in the Duty Free shops.

  2. SKEPTICAL says:

    Premier may be playing a clever game. In his announcement he left open a number of back doors through which Government can escape if they see this as a threat to them in the next election. Cruise lines have to be involved – financially – is one. Commitment from cruise lines to increase visiting ships/passenger numbers is another. If they see the possibility of the idea going “pear-shaped”, they can pull back and blame it on issues beyond their control, which would result in the development no longer being viable. Think it is called ” hedging your bets “.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is also called doing your homework, especially when you are committing the country’s money…these considerations wold of course not apply if commissions were involved.

  3. Aunt Flo says:

    The Pro Port rumcake and trinket sellers should have Flow do their marketing for them. Lots of similarities, the first being that they are really crap ideas.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Kirk-bots were busy overnight. Perhaps they have recruited a Chinese agency to work the thumbs.

  5. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Another great idea by PPM. SMH

    Just another day in Absurdistan

  6. Anonymous says:

    The dock will be like the Turtle Farm but on an unthinkably larger scale.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we should spend another 40 million saving all those mangroves Dart keeps destroying on West Bay road…er sorry, on the highway to hell. Sorry folks, all the money in the world is never going to bring us back the historic West Bay road.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with a lot of the posters on here. It is going to be really hard to justify taking the extreme measures on the coral relocation given the cost.

    I think that the main focus needs to be in shifting most of the funds toward mitigation during the dredging. Let’s face it the dredging is the biggest threat so let’s focus there to protect the neighboring areas.

    The operational threats have been decreased already but maybe some of these funds can also go into the seabed stabilization they mentioned just to help that even more.

  9. Sharkey says:

    I am flabbergasted by reading some of these comments, and seeing how some people think , and knowing that these comments and thoughts are coming from the people of Cayman. CNS I think that if you require people to put their name to these comments you would be doing the company a big favor.

  10. Rp says:

    Guys don’t get too excited. This port will not happen anytime soon for two reasons:

    1) cig has no money to fund it
    2) any private entity providing funding would request compensation in return which would never be acceptable to CIG.

    Alden had to say yes to the port for votes. Later he will tell us that it just could not be done as funding was not available internally or the proposal from 3rd parties is not acceptable.

    This is just positioning for votes, that’s all. Just imagine what Carnaval would ask for in exchange of financing this deal! That is if they would even be interested in building in Cayman when they could build in Cuba cheaper, for much larger returns and perks.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This would truly be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic. First we take great pride in destroying half of our natural land based environment in the name of progress, then we sell the remaining half of our natural land environment to foreigners and actually give them tens of millions of dollars to destroy it in the name of progress. Then we fuss our backsides off and actually consider spending tens of millions of dollars in an almost guaranteed to fail effort to save the smallest percentage of our marine environment from destruction in the name of progress. Build the dock, Mr. Premier and thank you for showing us all that Cayman is owned by all the people of this country and not one or two greedy families hell bent on milking it dry at any cost forever and ever.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What a pile of BS this idea is !!!!! Whose DUMB idea?? Relocate it where??? What if the residency of that area don’t want extra coral on there reef??? Lets take it too the north sound oops no the stingrays may protest its too crowed !!! So where to next ??? Think Think oh yes Save Cayman Members back yards each one gets a pc of the old boat as a souvenir for taking a truck load each of coral to there house for relocation..The End… PS still no answer when was this picture taken of the reef 20 years ago …10 years ago.1 month ago?????

  13. Los Lobos de la Mar says:

    Stop right there. Before we go any further, I have the solution. I will set up a new dive company, bring in 250 pearl divers from the Philippines and tender to handle the entire relocation project. At cost. For no more than $40,000,000.

    The amount they are budgeting sounds suspiciously/coincidentally like the current Environmental Protection Fund reserve.

    If I was paranoid, I would almost conclude that some devious types have at long last figured out how to get their hands on it…….

  14. Big Picture says:

    I think a few people are missing the point when they try to separate the dock and the coral relocation, they should go hand in hand if we care about the overall impact on our Country. The port project will destroy 100% of coral life in the dredge area. However, coral relocation is suggested as an alternate mitigating factor and from looking at the website Reason posted looks like it should reap about a 90% survival rate. The environmentalist can argue about the survival rate, but from my perspective it just means that there is some chance of survival instead of outright killing everything. That’s why I would be against the port period. I don’t want to spend 150+M and another 40+M to 100% destroy what we currently have for the possibility of saving maybe 90%. Doesn’t seem worth it to me!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Since the dock is already approved let’s put the coral relocation to a referendum!

  16. Anonymous says:

    If the Department of Environment, Gina Ebanks, NCC, EAB, Save Cayman and Elen Prager have all said they have questions about the success of transplanting coral why would anyone entertain the idea of spending $40 MILLION on this process.

    I think we should get the dock done since that has been decided but this transplant process isn’t sounding like it makes sense or at least not based on the comments of the above mentioned.

  17. Anonymous says:

    40 million could do so much to aid Caymanians but ppm are so stupid greedy and conflicted that they would prefer to put the monies towards destroying the corals instead of spending the monies on social programs and education. They are as useless if not worse as the UDP.

    • Anonymous says:

      That was a nice try at a politically charged redirect but the difference is the $40m would not be the reality, if it was UDP it would be a $60m coral project but publicly you’d still only hear about the $40m.

    • Magnanimous says:

      I agree. I don’t how much money the legislative assembly earns in a year, but a person making $50,000 per year would have to work 800 years to make $40,000,000 dollars. And add on the $300,000,000 it will cost for the construction of the dock, it would take 6800 years to make that much money. Mr. Premier, you are putting an unbearable load on the people of the Cayman Islands. This isn’t “value for money”, this is financial suicide.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if you took a quarter of that relocation costs and used it as incentive for the shuttle boats company if most of the Save Cayman lobbying would come to a stand still?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not so sure, at $5 per cruiser if we are hitting close to 2 million cruisers a year it might take a bit more than the $10M per year they are scheduled to rake in as a tendering monopoly to cool their guns.

  19. Voice of Reason says:

    Although, I am against $150+M port, because I just don’t think the benefits will ever outweigh the costs in the long run and that any benefit reaped will only be for a select few, I don’t like the exaggerations on both sides either. We need to stick with the facts. So I researched this coral transplanting and see that there are credible examples of it having worked in our region before. It is still not enough to change my mind because we are talking about mother nature, but at least I know that there are active examples within our region with a positive track record and recorded success rate.

    Lets stick with the facts people so that we can come to a credible solution with the least negative and irreversible consequences.

    • Just Sayin' says:

      Reason, nice to meet you. You must be new around here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do any of you realize they have been transplanting coral in our Harbour ever since the last cruise ship dropped its anchor on top of it?
      Or do you just choose to ignore what hundreds of people have been doing for the last year on their own time?

  20. Anonymous says:

    $40,000,000.00 bucks eh?
    So … does the projected cost of $100m – $150m for the cruise port already factor in the coral relocation?

    No one can support this CBF proposal without either; i) a dog in the race or, ii) very limited understanding of the most basic of anything in the history of time … ever.

    – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      So if someone does not agree with you they are i) Biased/conflicted or, ii) Ignorant. Chavez is that you commenting from the afterlife?

    • Anonymous says:

      True, I think the best solution is to allocate minimal funds into the relocation program, and use that saved money to get two more wrecks similar to the Kittiwake. It would be a great way to add two amazing dive sites, while adding a functional cruise pier. The new added wrecks would be a massive draw for Cayman. Win/win solution. Dive community wins and Caymanians win.

      • Merseyside Fairy says:

        Why not just sink the tenders once the dock is in place…….

        • Anonymous says:

          Half of those boats are so old they probably have great coral growth on them already. Truth be told they would go a long way to creating the 3D structure needed for the relocation.

    • Sligo says:

      I would rather the $40,000,000 be paid as compensation to the descendants of the 950 slaves recorded as being present at the time of abolition. The 116 slave owning families were duly compensated at the time of abolition.

      Otherwise, the amount can just be piled up on the little rock in the bay and set on fire. That would be about as useful as wasting it on the coral relocation fantasy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Kittiwake has been such an amazing dive site. Why don’t they just buy one or two more ship wrecks. That won’t cost near as much as relocation and will have a much bigger and better impact than the relocation.

    • Anonymous says:

      .10.25 that is an excellent alternative to spending $40 million on coral relocation.
      Just to pander to the overseas tree huggers…..$40Million….are you mad…?
      Anyone would think there is only ONE dive site in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t buy the historic value of existing wrecks.

      • Anonymous says:

        The “existing wreck” is reduced to a collection of rusted bits and pieces….is it really worth scuppering a project of very long term commercial benefit offering employment and security to thousands…?

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          Agree. Which long term commercial benefit project are you talking about tho?

        • Anonymous says:

          Bear in mind that the wreck of the Balboa was deliberately dynamited into its current state of bits and nieces because it was a navigation hazard within the port.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If the airport is fifty million, why would we ever consider putting out $40,000,000.00 to move some coral?

    That money would get 80% of the airport built OR we could use that to finish schools we need to OR how about help out with people that can’t afford electricity OR try to feed people that are hungry OR a hundred other better things than moving coral.

    If Government does go ahead with the dock I hope they don’t waste any more time effort or my people’s money on making some green eco groups happy. The project has to be for our people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Believe me, the airport will not be built for $50 million but when it is finally built in five years time it will amount to about $150 million and that is without jetways.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to forget that PEOPLE need the EARTH- idiot!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You should put that in the tourism marketing “Come to Cayman, where the locals don’t give a ^&%$ about the environment”.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This dock is insane it is so beyond comprehension how stupid the people in Cayman are that support this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummmm, they are not stupid, they just have a different point of view.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is insane beyond comprehension is that first we destroy 90 percent of our natural environment on land to provide comfortable homes for stupid people like you to live in, nice roads for you to drive on, good schools to educate your children and good restaurants for you to eat in and good churches for you to attend and then we get stupid people like you calling us crazy beyond comprehension for forfeiting a tiny fraction of a percentage of our marine environment to build a facility that will benefit every single person in Cayman’s currrent generation and many generations to come. Now THATS what I call stupid insanity beyond comprehension.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are obviously pitifully lacking in comprehension.

  24. Common Sense is indeed not common says:

    Before we even get to the stage of possibly “relocating acres of coral” I am still waiting for the basics before we even consider a project of this magnitude.
    What is our Tourism Plan?
    What are we trying to achieve?
    Where is the cost benefit analysis?
    What are the cruise lines saying?
    How much are we willing to lose in order to gain what exactly?
    What are the possible unintended consequences?

    I am hopeful that at minimum our decision makers have the answers to these basics and are simply not sharing this with the voting public, why not, totally escapes me.

    We must always remember our strengths and emphasize those strengths, why do we still have 4 and 5 cruise ships docking here still, why are they still coming and getting off the ship and what is their experience and will they return?

    In this competitive business we have to set ourselves apart and maintain the standards that have been enjoying the same repeat customers for years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some other questions to add to your list could be
      1 How many people come ashore now
      2 How many people would come ashore after we get a dock
      3 If we get more people after a dock what would they participate in
      4 If we got more people after a dock who precisely would benefit
      5 How many ships will come here after the dock
      6 How many ships will not come here without a dock
      7 How many ships will we get on Friday / Saturday / Sunday / Monday with the dock
      The emotional issue of the coral is “clouding” whether the whole of the Grand Cayman will get any benefit from the dock.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The Kirk-bots are stirred out of “sleep mode”. Cache refresh ready. Check. Kirk-bots ready. Check. Operation Thumbs re-commence in 3-2-1-Go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you jealous because Kirk has more “bots” than the tender owners? Give it a rest.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, just disappointed that capital and the pursuit of money has won over doing the right thing. But the proposal won’t survive a decent legal challenge.

        • Anonymous says:

          What is more disappointing is you attacking the incumbent Government simply because you want to run for the next elections. You are too egotistical to realize that you only care about yourself, rather than the good of the Cayman Islands.

          • Anonymous says:

            Where did you get the bit about running in elections? You are trying to divide and conquer by inventing political motives that are not there. You are well suited to the seedy world of PR spin from those that hired you or built you.

          • Ghost Writer says:

            That’s funny, A 11:45, but dumb. The ones planning on running aren’t good writers. They use writers who are good at deception, and who are easily bought.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are the worst type of troll! A troll who uses the name anonymous, to troll all the other people who use anonymous! Wait does that make sense?

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems you are experienced in stacking votes? Hypocrite anybody?

    • Anonymous says:

      Kirk-bots go on the offensive, rising up against their human masters, engineering environment destroying capital projects in the pursuit of the sale of watches, sunglasses and pirate t-shirts.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone seriously believe that CIG are for one second serious about coral relocation or moving the two wrecks if this goes ahead? When will happen is the work will kick off then they’ll either discover that it wasn’t doable after all or there’ll be a convenient misunderstanding and the site will be trashed by the contractors.

    Having said that, and I write this with 20 years diving experience including many dives in the area where the dock might be built, I do have to ask if this site really has the significance that some people are claiming. Whilst I respect the environmental arguments, claiming this site is something that many dive professionals know it isn’t doesn’t seem very smart to me. In fact in many ways it simply mirrors some of the hysterical claims being made by the pro-dock lobby. This debate should be settled by reasoned argument not by trying to see who can scream, “The sky is falling!,” loudest.

    • Anonymous says:

      I for one have to agree with you on this. Hearing certain underwater photographers declaring that Balboa is both the #1 and #2 dive site when Kittiwake has become the only world renowned name in Cayman diving takes a lot of credibility away from their argument. I too believe that there will be some destruction of coral, I’m not fully sold that the relocation makes sense. If the anti dock groups are saying relocation or transplantation doesn’t yield the results that are touted then maybe instead of relocating the coral we put that money into the airport, schools, health care, education etc. Why would we spend $40million moving coral if the airport is $55million? Just put the funds there.

      • Grim Reaper says:

        Health care is a complete waste of money. We are born to die. Let nature take it’s course and let’s spend that cash on something more fun.

      • Dolly Varden says:

        Why spend ANY money dredging and moving coral……… Solution: Don’t build a dock that we don’t need and don’t spend money that we don’t have.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:28 But I bet even if they don’t do the relocation that $40million will still mysteriously be added to the tab for this exercise.

    • Shoeless Joe From Dog City says:

      I don’t dive but I also have no interest in seeing those metal monstrosity’s any closer to shore than they already are. It’s bad enough in town already to be honest without having to look at that. All they really seek to accomplish is go further cheapen an already tacky experience

  27. Anonymous says:

    So much money going down the drain in this project.. Our poor children will suffer for the greed and shortsightedness of a few.

  28. Anonymous says:

    It’s an absolute waste of money to relocate this little bit of coral. We need the cruise dock and the cargo dock, we don’t really need this little 6 acre section of coral.

    Invest that money in the social services we need instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      Build the dock, forget the coral. The Expats can play in the hundreds of other dive spots.

      • Anonymous says:

        Someone as stupid as yourself should be prevented from reproducing, honestly!

        • Anonymous says:

          it’s probably too late and it’s probably governments fault they can’t provide for their many children …smh……

      • Sue Smart says:

        9:43, you are lacking in grey matter. Go back to school and try again.

    • Sue Smart says:

      We could get along without the coral, and we could get along very well and save multi-millions without the un-necessary dock!

    • Sue Smart says:

      There would be a lot more money for social services if that golden dock was dumped.

  29. Tom Thumb says:

    Thumbs at the ready!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Can we go just 1 day without a story about the dock?

    • Anonymous says:

      OK, let’s talk abot the turtle farm and he dump!

      • Anonymous says:

        sounds like a great idea to me, anything but the dock.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s exactly what government needs to realise- solve the other much more pressing issues then we can talk about the dock- and let the dock be a referendum decision- if this government wanted to do what’s best they would LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE

        • B. Hurlstone says:

          That’s the best comment I’ve seen! Let the people decide! Everyone with a brain should know we are NOT READY for the big dock! George Town needs a lot of changes, like better shops and streets and a lot more before it will attract more tourists!

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t know how anyone can disagree with this. The dock plan budget includes Georgetown upgrades because we KNOW they’re necessary, we KNOW we can’t even handle the current crowds on busy days, and yet we hope it gets busier? A crowded, smelly downtown that loses the diving and snorkeling that currently brings at least some of the folks off the boats is not going to magically succeed just because we build some concrete walkways. Fix Georgetown FIRST.

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