Port design proposal to be reviewed

| 28/10/2015 | 83 Comments
Cayman News Service

Proposed cruise dock for Grand Cayman

(CNS): The government is taking another look at the proposed design for a cruise berthing facility, which has been at the centre of the work that has taken place so far, to move the controversial project forward. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell spoke about the possibility of moving the piers into deeper water to reduce the dredging footprint and mitigate the environmental damage.

Kirkconnell said government was committed to providing a facility for the Cayman Islands that would deliver the greatest economic benefit with the least environmental impact.

“We are fully aware that our tourism product is supported by the natural beauty of our environment. Therefore it bears repeating that we remain committed to identifying the best possible option that will deliver the most economic benefit with the least environmental harm,” he said. “Government is reviewing the proposed designs to see how we can achieve even less environmental impact. Included in this is consideration to moving the piers to deeper waters to minimize dredging.”

He explained that in the current design proposal, the deepest pilings are set around 50-55 feet but they have asked the design engineers to look at moving that to 90 feet so the piers would be further away and the dredging would be reduced. Government has, however, ruled out other possibilities, such as the cable car or floating dock concepts, and the plan would still include two piers and upland development.

Despite his very emphatic commitment to the project, Premier Alden McLaughlin said government would still ensure the berthing facility “built under our watch will be done carefully and responsibly to cause the least possible environmental impact”.

He said that looking at possible redesigns was part of the next steps but the main focus would be on the financing model, which they would now discuss with the cruise lines.

The current design calls for a significant upland area of some seven acres but Kirkconnell, the deputy premier, insisted that this would not include any retail development and would be the distribution point for passengers and part of the cargo facility.

Seven acres is, however, a large area and many people believe that the reclaimed land will be a factor for the cruise lines, which the government hopes will be behind the financing of the project through increased passenger taxes. However, local economic experts and pundits concerned about the project believe that the cruise lines will not commit to significant tax increases to fund the piers without additional gain and access to shore-side retail.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (83)

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  1. Votes Talk- Alden Walks says:

    I supported the PPM in 2013 but I can assure you that if one inch of that harbour bottom is dug up, they will never again get any of the 147 votes that I control in George Town. Fix the damn dump!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Are our leaders this dense? Move the piers further out and that will appease the descent? The economic impact of this poorly thought out vision of the future is almost if not greater than the environmental impact. We don’t have money to waste on chasing the small margin floating trailer park tourists.

    If we do plan to spend what little we have, we should market the island better and get high quality stay over tourist here. Conventions, weddings and the like are the things we should want to attract here.
    And improve the airport while we are at it.

    They want you to believe that anti-dock expansion means pro tenders. This is not the case. We don’t need cruise tourism at all. Let it die, because it’s profitability from it for the island is dying already and cannnot be saved. No cruise ships, no tenders is not a bleak outlook as they want you to believe. It is only bleak for those in the merchant class that didn’t adjust their business in time and now they want the country to pay for their bailout. But even if the dock expansion goes forward, their business will continue to decline to nothing. The only thing this dock expansion does is cause the country to go down with that sinking ship.

    • Anonymous says:

      Outstanding observations. But Customs [almost] wrecked the wedding visitors by their aggressive hounding of brides wedding dress duty , but that aside , the tender owners say they can sell them all in short notice ( at least the ones they don’t anticipate using ). Tender operator should also keep their fleet to the level needed to continue business for smaller ships that will keep visiting . Scrap Alden’s dock & teach Customs officers how to be polite to rich stay over tourists & residents. Teach them to smile & not frown .

      • Anonymous says:

        It isn’t going to be that easy to sell 20 year old tenders and get much in return. Especially since no one tenders anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      The pro dock business owners have sold the politicians a bill of goods. They will be the ones that really benefit and the rest of us will be strapped with the cost of the pier that will be way over budget.

      It is too bad that the government cannot develop a vision for the country in a positive sense instead of chasing around every possible money making scheme that comes down the pike.

      Imaging that money going into fixing the dump and getting the education system working properly and funding pensions.

      Develop Cayman into an elite cruise ship destination that doesn’t want the jumbo ships.

  3. Truth B. Told says:

    The only thing they have managed to do so far this term is cock up one man one vote.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t usually comment on these public forums, but I find it hard to bite my tongue these days. I’ll be brief –

    You are signing our country up for half a billion dollar debt for a port that is happening only because the cruise lines are forcing our hand. BUT…

    We can’t spend $20m extra to have jetways at our airport (in a first world country?!?) because….

    And there’s a High School construction site that has been sitting, dormant, rotting for the last 3 years because….

    I’m all for development, but in my humble opinion the priorities are horribly backwards here. Sounds like we are investing in the profit margins of the cruise lines and those of the major retailers in town, and not in the interest of our country.


    • Anonymous says:

      Damn right bobo! I say we spend the $20M on the jetways to accommodate the tourists that are really coming here to spend time and money with us. To focus on the cruise dock and downgrade the airport is like a sit-down restaurant deciding to install fans and turn of the A/C so they can save money to build a better drive through window for takeout customers.

      It’s asinine!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Get er done.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Once this project is completed and everyone sees that the over-hyped environmental fallout was greatly exaggerated to trick people into joining the “save the tenders” campaign what are people going to turn around and say to the people that were leading it? When Town is flourishing, small business and entrepreneurs have opportunities and the country has a secured pillar to its tourism industry it will be interesting to hear the explanations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Overhyped? The qualified oceanologist has spoken! All hail!!Unlike the west bay road, this one is not reversible, ever. If you and CIG want to destroy the very reason people come here, go ahead, but do not dare to state that everyone is making a fuss about nothing when you know nothing of what will happen, and only have your cash till in mind. And, as many have commented, when the 10,000 or 20,000 arrive and its a zoo, and nowhere to go, chaos in George Town and nobody wants to come back, what are you going to do with your white elephant? Its not even a well thought out plan, and certainly not one that in light of todays news on pensions etc, that Cayman can afford to finance. Referendum! 50% of our staff are Caymanians, and listening to them, there is not one for the dock.

    • SSM345 says:

      Likewise 9:36, what happens if this fails? It will interesting to hear the explanations behind why it HAD to be done. Town will not flourish with this Dock unless it is revitalized first, that way you actually have something to offer the tourist so they get off the ship. If there is nothing, then they will just walk right back onto the ship and enjoy the rest of their day looking out their windows.

      Do you know who owns 90% of GT?


      Anyone see a correlation here, build the dock, DART revitalizes GT and gets all the new shops etc.

      If all you people whining about being unemployed think that he will hire you, you are sadly mistaken.

      Meanwhile, praise our almighty Government whilst they pull the wool over your eyes.

    • Anonymous says:

      You think we want to save the tenders? This has nothing to do with them. We don’t want mega cruise ships, we don’t want more tourists than the island’s infrastructure can cope with, we don’t want ourselves and future generations to be saddled with this debt. What we care about is the protection of the island, its natural resources, its people, our tax-paying dollars and stay-over tourism. Bargain bucket cruise ship tourists and tender operators don’t even come into it. Stop trying to deflect people from seeing the REAL reasons for the objections.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What we have now is seeing Moses act like a civil engineer , now the project has the green light. To deepen the pilings to 90 feet of depth from the proposed 50-55 feet just demonstrates they have no knowledge of the engineering principles at hand, or the consequences. It does not take any brilliance to calculate the loading of a 100,000 ton + ship pushing against 90 foot deep pilings with 50,000 ton of concrete on the top. What you will now see is back-tracking to appease the environmental lobby & justify Alden’s pet project . It is worthy to note that hurricane Dean in August 2007 totally demolished a cruise dock over on the Mexico coast that was a deep water piling cruise dock. Dean was a 907 MB storm & struck Mexico as a category 5 storm , waves of + 45 feet striking the cruise ship dock with calculated effects.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Every major project in Cayman’s history met some form of resistance. This is the same. At least we don’t have to deal with the disaster of what Mac would have created with the Chinese or the new island Dart wanted to build out in the harbour. This government has done everything it possibly can to get the information needed and they are building this project in a much better way than any other group has put forward.
    This is the best proposal that Cayman has seen yet and they are still trying to improve on it.
    Awesome job PPM, I will be right there again in 2017 to make sure this great leadership continues.

    • My Yoot says:

      Dart is Caymanian, but you’d rather sell out to Carnival as that is the only way this crap ever happens.

    • Anonymous says:

      @9:11 am – Just because something is the “best” proposal does not make it a good proposal.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please don’t refer to Dart as a “Caymanian”. If he would renounce his own U.S. Citizenship to avoid taxes, what do you think he would do to Cayman?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pave paradise to put up a parking lot….or in this case, a berthing facility! Waste of time and money and once the environment is destroyed no visitors will be on the rock for vacation! – This will lose money, not gain it!

    If Cayman looked at how much they charge stayover visitors (food, spirits, entertainment) and tried to reduce the cost somewhat, the stayover business would boom! I always tell people how beautiful Cayman is – BUT it is expensive. I sure hope the government is smart with their decisions. There is no guarantee from cruise ship visitors, but there is a guarantee of a stayover visitor having to spend money!

  10. Kenny says:

    This whole farce is a bigger gamble than giving Mac an Government credit card and a first class ticket to Vegas. It will contribute greatly to our ongoing demise.

  11. Cayman Chernobyl says:

    When all is said and half done, picture an aquatic variation on what was attempted with John Gray High School. Mostly incomplete, massively over budget and completely under water.

    This project will give new and terrifying meaning to “sunk costs”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont forget to thank Almighty God for a massively superior government to the one that left John Gray in a mess. We all know where THEIR attention was, particularly in regards to the cruise port.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take the projections, double the cost and half the income. See what a realistic estimate of the outcome will be.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they could design it as a marine park and forget all this nonsense and concentrate on the stay over tourism?

    • Anonymous says:

      A marine park full of coral destroyed by 40 years of cruise ship anchors and tendering and cargo docking? We have marine parks around the other 98 percent of the island. The fact is that if Cabinet had decided AGAINST the piers the OTHER three quarters of the population would have been displeased and would blame them forever for losing out on untold millions in revenue that nothing on the face of this earth but the future, and proper docking facilities will determine. Get on with the dock, Mr. Premier.

      • Anonymous says:

        The best argument in support of building a cruise ship dock is SAFETY. If you doubt passengers’ lives are currently being placed in danger while disembarking/embarking the ships, try standing up on a boat in the harbor on a busy cruise ship day in December. You will be very nearly knocked overboard by the wake from the multitude of tenders crisscrossing the harbor. Even the largest tenders rock dangerously from these waves when tied alongside the ships or terminal docks and despite being located in the lee side of the Island, waves from strong southeast winds do come around the southwest side of the island adding to the wakes in the harbour. Now picture your seventy-five year old mother or five year old daughter trying to step off of or on to a rocking tender and tell me you’re comfortable sending them on a cruise to Grand Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          Get liability insurance or worse case sue the tender company and cruise lines…it’s cheaper than a 400m dock isn’t it?

          • Anonymous says:

            One would most certainly imagine the tender companies HAVE liability insurance, smartie. Unfortunately liability insurance does not prevent someone, or indeed any number of people, from getting hurt or killed.

        • Anonymous says:

          10;09 what an idiotic statement! Everyday thousands of people disembark onto tenders and there doesn’t appear to be a serious SAFETY factor.
          Bear in mind that a large percentage of the large people on these non stop eating cruises are not going to leave the ship at all as long as the food is coming 24/7 free of charge.

          • Anonymous says:

            Idiotic? You obviously have no knowledge of the several near misses, broken bones, cuts, bruises and other injuries, broken mooring lines and even occasions when persons (albeit crewmembers) have fallen into the water. I once witnessed a handicapped passenger nearly fall in on his wheelchair! How many paraplegics do we need to lose into the Cayman Trench before the cruise lines pull out or you acknowledge the reality that a SAFETY issue exists? We both know who’s the idiot on here now!

  13. You Down Wid FCO? says:

    Any idiot that thinks they will have the funding and approvals in place to get this nonsense off the ground before 2017 is just that, an idiot.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I was not a huge PPM fan until the last couple of months.
    Airport – Check
    Cruise port – Check
    Cargo port – Check
    Dump move – Check
    GT revitalization – Check

    Keep it rolling PPM you will win us all over come 2017

    • Shhhh says:

      You are not supposed to tell the people of Bodden Town about the dump move just yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      anyway…back to the real world….after 3 years nothing has started on the above….

    • Anonymous says:

      as per the other paper this morning, in CIG accounts they did not include $1.4bn of debt for pensions and healthcare…add another $300m here, bankrupt and no pensions…good luck with that Cayman!

    • SSM345 says:

      And the money is coming from where? And the budget will be met for each project? Said no one involved.

    • Koolaid Phizz says:

      You forgot their most important achievement:

      Change speed limit zones – Check

      Oh wait. Neither this or anything on your list has actually been done and they are two years in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check check consultation consultation talk talk.
      The government have actually done nothing except talked a lot and spent $$$$$$ on consultations

    • Anonymous says:

      @12:03am – and not a single allegation or hint of corrupt or backroom under the table wheeling and dealing. Way to go PPM!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman’s Port, Cayman’s Future has tried to reach out to and work with Save Cayman from the beginning but the only goal for them was “No Dock” no matter what.
    Doing as much as possible to preserve the marine habitat has been stated from the start. Maybe now we can get together and work to make the best result for Cayman.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Destroying marine life and our natural beauty and sending the economy further downhill now vs fixing and completing these schools and unfinished projects on island that are beneficial to the future of the younger generations….only the KY gov would do garbage like this; no where else.These people aren’t going to give a shit when our tourism cease to exists. Their pockets will be full and they will be happily living somewhere on the other side of the world while the rest are left to suffer and clean up their MESS.

  17. Anonymous says:

    We need some new leaders because these old foots are only in it for their cut of the big check. Leaders who actually gave a damn and actually have an education (more than high school diploma) and did their research for themselves and educated themselves outside of their bar and nightclub nights out. Even a survey from the tourists both by air and sea would be suffice! If they did they would find all the answers they need as to how to increase their tourism because its all downhill from here. Cayman is going to sink once Cuba opens up to the world again. Castro may be considered a cruel man (no defense or offense) but he’s a smart man. He is has kept Cuba sacred and untouched and that is what the people want! Different! History! A Story!? Where is Cayman’s history! What is our story? The rich come and buy us out and make their country into their lego playing/building ground…?!Do your research smart asses…

    • Anonymous says:

      I was right behind you until I got to the last bit. We sold out to the rich and not the other way around. They couldn’t buy in the first place if we did not offer it to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure what planet you live on, but this government has the most educated leaders we’ve ever had.

      • Anonymous says:

        But still not educated enough it seems, because they are using a bullish approach typical of Mac, and common sense flies right over their heads

  18. Anonymous says:

    Years ago prior to all this remodeling that’s been going, this island had more tourist than ever with 8 ships in port regardless of a dock being out there destroying the reefs…so I guess its much more ‘sensible’ to place a dock that not only destroys the marine life that the majority of these tourists come here to see but will only allow 4 ships to dock compared to years ago…RIGHT! Years ago they cut back on the number of ships allowed to come per day because the reefs were being destroyed only to destroys the reefs now!? Makes no sense.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Will moving the piers further increase the cost of the project? This is stupid. The government and the country make more from stay over tourists. Abandon cruise tourism altogether we don’t need it. I know that is a scary prospect to the downtown retailers, Kirkconnells etc, who have over invested and are probably in debt by building that plaza. But if we increase stay over tourism to any significant degree, we will more than cover the loss in floating trailer park tourism.

    Bring the airport into the 21st century. Market the island better. Don’t waste the public’s money on this dock enhancement. We have a dock and it is more than enough for this small island to bring in its goods.

    If the Kirkconnells put up their money for this dock i would be ok with it. But how could they with all it sitting in the red roofed plaza??

  20. SKEPTICAL says:

    This could be a case of – ” be careful of what you wish for “, for the major GT retailers who have been pushing for the cruise ship dock. If the cruise lines demand a “quid pro quo” for their financial assistance, it could easily be the the right to develop their own retail outlets on the upland sector of the development.

  21. Anonymous says:

    If PPM builds the cruise berthing facility following the proper procedures for transparency as it appears they are doing, I will guarantee they will have secured 50 – 75 votes alone from my family in West Bay. Other will surely follow.

    To Hell with McKeeva and his Chinese Communist Developers.

    • Anonymous says:

      What, out of curiosity, qualifies you to decide how 75 other people exercise their democratic right? The 4 sentences comprising your post alone should disqualify you from deciding anything for anyone. Then again, maybe you are the sage of your family. I am sorry for all of you.

  22. New Caymanian says:

    This project will ruin the government financially and lead to direct taxation.

    PPM are proving themselves irresponsible with over future and public funds. The attitude says everything they are prepared to gamble and do not care about the total costs of the largest and most expensive capital works project in Caymans history. Building in deeper waters near the drop off will double the total costs of the project driving it towards to half a billion dollars.

    Well done Alden McLaughlin Moses Kirkconnell Marco Archer Osbourne Bodden Tara Rivers Kurt Tibbetts Wayne Panton Joey Hew Anthony Eden Alva Suckoo Roy McTaggart Winston Connolly we will not forget in May 2017.

  23. Anonymous says:

    welcome to the concrete jungle…….

  24. Sunrise says:

    Consider other options: move the Cruise Berthing Facility to Sports. Most of the tour operators, taxis, dive companies, etc., are saying this is the best area. Why are they being ignored, I thought this was being built to help those in the cruise industry?

    • Anonymous says:

      @Sunrise – Spott is not an option and never was. Simple reason being is that the stores are not at Spotts.

      Allowing the passengers to disembark anywhere else than directly onto the storefronts may give them the chance to escape buying cheap t-shirts and overpriced jellewry.

      And we all know what’s going to happen if the tourists can’t buy cheap t-shirts and overpriced jewellery…

      • Anonymous says:

        Um, the stores are not in GT either? There’s not many cruise ship passengers in the market for diamonds, and the only other thing they can buy in GT is tacky souvenirs and T-shirts. If only GT did have all stores, malls, restaurants, bars, food and clothes markets and transport all in one sensible central place, then it would be a lot nice place to live, work and visit.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why is the Tourism Ministry heading an infrastructure project anyway? The Ministry of Planning Agriculture Housing & Infrastructure is the appropriate Ministry to handle such a project, because it will be Public Works who has to manage the construction.

        So Mose, please do not spout any more BS to us and take us for fools, because we know differently and why the project is under you. This is true Braaaac style keep it in the family. Quick question, where are the majority of people in your Ministry from?

    • Anonymous says:

      Transporting 20,000 cruise passengers from Spotts will result in a 4 mile line of taxi buses alone, all crawling into GT at the same time as the Eastern and Northern half of the Island getting to school and work.
      Think before you opine.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cruise passengers are transported from piers to downtown by taxi and bus in many places. San Juan PR (the main eastern Caribbean hub), Barbados, St. Thomas USVI to name but a few.

        You should take a cruise and see for yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        And won’t the same thing happen with the same 4 mile line of taxi buses in town with 20k cruise passengers?

        • Anonymous says:

          Some will filter into town and any others will not be tangled up with the morning rush coming into GT.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now you are talking about destroying pristine reefs for sure. Keep this dock plan where it is, in a dead zone. Pick any other spot on the island and the reef destruction will be 1,000 times worse.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Malfunction junction again.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Reducing the impact of the project should have been Save Cayman’s focus from the start rather than trying to do anything it could to stop the project at any cost.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The cruise lines will only put money into this facility if they own it and have retail outlets on it. The sooner CIG gets their collective heads out the sand and accepts that fact the sooner this will move on – one way or the other.

  28. Anonymous says:

    So Gov’t is building the dock far enough so it doesn’t need dredging. Does that mean the save bots will be happy ? I bet it won’t change anything, because it was never about the ENVIRONMENT , TA-DA

    • Anonymous says:

      It will still involve dredging. You should improve your comprehension skills before you post nonsense in a public forum. Longer piers mean more costs in my book. So you understand, ECONOMY and ENVIRONMENT are two big factors for people against this.

      • Anonymous says:

        @28/10/15 People still talking about the port like they know whats going on. You don’t have a clue. Let me help you …….Cruise piers will be paid by cruise lines or it will not be built. So finish with that argument. Cruise piers being built in deeper water will cost more but no dredging. Wait to see if it can get done. No, no one knows unless you built one before. So no it won’t hurt the economy it will help it . What environment? Building the piers will help to give fish a place to hide from the sun and allow the drop-off reefs to grow back. A win-win for both

        • Master Lup says:

          I saw a patented dock design done by a Caymanian inventor that impressed me and base on my years of building docks here and in Honduras I can assure you this is the best solution to the dock/environmental problem I have seen , for several reasons:
          1. It is a long term solution because it is designed to resist bad weathers. Going forward we will no longer be worried every time we have a bad northern (I really think this dock can resist some serious bad weathers).
          2. It can be done with no dredging at all. Will cost more to go out deeper but it is an environmental friendly solution. (I can put down the piles with very small damage to the environment, and/or I have no problem passing that info on to government if interested.)
          3. No filling will be required because the entire dock and landing areas can be cover with the same material as the dock or the planks can be of other material (the design allows the planks to be off deferent materials depending on factors such as cost or the heat under your feet, etc.
          Base on my words you may say and why nobody has mentioned this? A dock that requires no filling and no dredging!
          Exactly what I ask myself, so several months ago I asked the same question to a member of the government that supposedly delivered a copy off the mentioned dock pattern to the member of government and he told me that he thinks they will not mention this dock because the decision making group don’t like the person that invented this dock, he drinks and likes to talk too much!!
          As time pass on I wonder how you can put your likes or dislikes of a person over the benefit of your people, yourself and your country!
          I also ask myself if this inventor had sold this design to a Japanese company that was interested would the government then accept the design.
          Note I am not involved in politics nor have any interest in the inventor design, I’m only a concern Caymanian that worked on many docks and are 100% sure that any filling or dredging in GT harbor will affect public beach. I can give you examples of cases in Cayman, La Ceiba, Bonaca and Roatan, it is a fact that any large movement of fill in the sea bottom affects not only the area where it is deposited it also affects beaches and land near where the fill is removed or moved to.

      • Anonymous says:

        ECONOMY and ENVIRONMENT are at best 2nd and 3rd behind TENDER BOAT REVENUE which if you didn’t know, is the #1 factor for the real push against this project. If you didn’t realize that, then you have been made a fool. Actually, it doesn’t look like you need any help in that department if you think blocking pier development is going to help the ECONOMY.

        • Anonymous says:

          How many voting Caymanians are there? How many tender ship operators are there? Tender Boat revenue is way down on our list of priorities. We’re talking about Cayman, its people and its people’s money being wasted here – nothing to do with cruise ships or tender boars or tourists – they could all go forever for all I care. Finciancial services and stayover tourism is props up Cayman’s finances not cruise ship tourists.

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