Dart seeks to dig up 7MB rock

| 02/03/2016 | 124 Comments

water stumble(CNS): Dart Realty (Cayman) has plans to submit a coastal works application to “conduct site investigations and remove samples of beachrock” just below the high-water mark on Seven Mile Beach, the developer confirmed in a statement Wednesday. The island’s biggest landowner is proposing to take rock from a trial site north of Tiki Beach, where it has plans for another 5-star resort because it is “creating an unpleasant water entry experience”, Dart officials said, as it is too shallow to swim over and beachgoers could slip and stumble if they try to walk over it.

In the release the developer explained why it was seeking a licence for work in the heart of Cayman’s most famous stretch of beach: “The objectives of the trial include collecting samples of beachrock for analysis, testing the proposed removal methodology, ascertaining the thickness of the beachrock and what lies beneath it and determining whether the beachrock can be broken up to produce suitable beach replacement sand.”

Dart said the application was supported by studies from recognised experts, including Dr Brian Jones, who has undertaken several studies of Cayman’s geology, and Dr Richard Seymour, both of whom supported the rock removal.

At pains to point out that the rock, which is essentially cemented sand, is not reef, the developer said the beachrock supports macroalgae and encrusting sponges with a relatively low density of coral colonies and significantly less diversity in coral species than nearby areas. Dart claims the research indicates that the rock is not functioning as a mini-breakwater and does not change the main along-shore and cross-shore systems which transport sand on Seven Mile Beach.

But the trial is just a first step, as the powerful developer intends to make a second application to remove all of the rock which covers part of the beachfront land Dart now owns, courtesy of the controversial NRA agreement.

The developer said that the application was being submitted in line with the proper processes, and work would fit around the established turtle nesting patterns. But following a review by the Department of Environment and Cabinet, if the application is successful excavators could be digging up samples by April, with a full scale removal of rock in November.

“Dart Realty is committed to responsible, sustainable development and remains a conscientious steward of its land as well as Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach,” said Dart Realty Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak. “We are taking a thorough, measured approach in evaluating the removal of beachrock.”

The beachrock is not a new formation. It is a natural phenomenon which happens when groundwater meets seawater in the sand. It was there when the developer acquired the land and made its infamous deal with the Cayman government, recently declared unlawful by the Office of the Auditor General.

Dart said the land north of Tiki Beach, because of the depth of the beach frontage as well as the connection to the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, was an ideal location for another luxury resort but the area was very different to the rest of Seven Mile Beach.

Still in the conceptual phase but estimated to have 175 rooms and 80 residences, Dart said the new luxury resort next to the Kimpton would increase the island’s hotel room stock, a main factor preventing growth in air arrivals.

“We are approaching our latest sustainable development project with the goal of opening the five-star resort in 2020 and realising more than US$600 million in economic impact and up to 1,200 jobs during the three-year construction period. Once the resort is open, it will employ more than 450 people and contribute significantly to Cayman’s economy through government revenue and visitor spending,” added Doak. “We are also committed to continuing the pipeline of employment opportunities in the construction sector by transitioning the workforce to new development projects when others reach completion, such as Kimpton Seafire, which will open in November 2016.”

In a further effort to win support for digging up Seven Mile Beach, the developer has also released a video showing the rocky area and details of the beachrock (see below).

CNS contacted the ministry responsible for the environment Monday with questions about Dart’s plans after we learned the developer had made a presentation to the PPM caucus requesting permission to do the trial without a coastal works licence. But officials said that no application had been made to government for a coastal works licence at that time and they were unable to comment on the issues raised until they received one.

Dart Coastal Works Application for Beachrock Removal from Dart Realty on Vimeo.

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Comments (124)

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  1. Take the long view. This is a self resolving problem. Let the developers like Dart remove the beach storm protection barriers like the beach rock. Let them pay (and tax them) to haul sand from near non-existent sources needed to replenish their constantly eroding beaches.

    Finally, understand that beachfront condos and luxury residents are actually more durable reef rubble substrate – than natural beach rock cementations. The next big hurricane will take care of mindless, greed driven developers like Dart. If you don’t mind the shabby reef appearance until the condo and luxury housing debris are encrusted with colonizing organisms (bacteria, encrusting algae, foraminifera, worms, sponges, crustaceans, tunicates, mollusks, etc. and pretty much in that order), soon you have a new reef and its all good in the long run.

    I live on Florida’s east coast and after every storm we go out on the beach and see all old bricks, tiles, concrete rubble and asphalt pieces that the 2004-2005 high frequency hurricane season catastrophic beach erosion that took unwise developments and their developers off our coast – at least temporarily. Nature can and eventually does correct poor development and incompetent government decisions. Nature prevails where common sense fails. The corrupt politicians – nature leaves to you to correct.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm, Cayman=”Dartville”

  3. Anonymous says:

    YELLOW AND BROWN SAND…..YELLOW AND BROWN SAND…LOOK AT MR DART”S VERSION OF PUBLIC BEACH>>>Mr. Dart, Ms. Doak, please get some real sand to replace that imported crush rock that you put over the road. Actually, and when we are at it did you know that all that rock is what is called live rock. It contains the seeds of coral that is in its early stages of growing. But go ahead, dig it up! please do….how about Mr.Dart just pays the owners of royal palms that $900 million they want so he can get the hotel next to SMB. No no no, he would rather destroy the environment

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 5/3/2016 937A – Dude haven’t you heard? Dart has already bought royal palms. Another Caymanian sellout. Which Caymanian was it this time? Kirkconnell?
      Sad sad sad.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where are your Planned Area Development applications Mr Dart?

    Where is out comprehensive National Development Plan Mr Tibbetts?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for Caymanians. You country is being sold out to one person by elected officials. There is no one that can stop it or with the integrity to galvanize the electorate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s be clear. Caymanians sold themselves out. All of this land was once owned by Caymanians.

  6. Anonymous says:

    While he is at it, can he get some filters installed that keeps the water crystal clear even on days where the water may be murky due to some weather conditions? We wouldn’t want the tourists to be inconvenienced by murky water. Surely we can arrange for those conditions to be controlled as well.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sigh – you would think the installed sea wall at Tikki Beach has taught some a lesson when considering the constantly eroded beach in the area. Clearly some just do not want to learn. And of course, we wouldn’t want tourists having to walk a few feet to the left or right to gain easy access to the water. That would be simply inhuman!

  8. C. U. says:

    Don’t understand why Dart would ruin such a unique reef different from other reefs. Many hotel operators would view this reef north of TiKi as a special attraction not available to most hotels that would greatly help marketing with ocean lovers. I’ve snorkeled here tons over three decades because I can walk to it from my vacation home on SMB. Guess I better snorkel more before it’s gone. Truly a missed promotion opportunity that’s destroyed by typical short-sighted developers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I am critical of the way Dart has been allowed to dominate any part of our economy that he chooses, in this instance many people are critical of Who is asking rather than What is being asked. Any other developer, Caymanian or foreign would have dug out the rock and then said “Whoop’s, is there a form we should have filled out before doing this?” End of story.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I can’t wait for that sandy bottom so I can rock up with my boat full of drunk friends and party like there’s no tomorrow and there’s nothing no one can say about it because you don’t own the sea bobo. HIgh water mark only!

  11. george tustin says:

    We all know two things. 1. This should not be allowed, 2,Dart will be allowed to do it

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly this is the most insightful post on this topic. It is a shame that we let our elected officials do this to our country.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t speak for others but I knew that was Dart plan from day one. He will use it as a threat and force the politicians to support him.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dr Jones confirmed it is beach rock. That is hardly an endorsement of its removal. And how does Dart plan to deal with the freshwater intrusion that causes it to form in the first place?

  13. Anonymous says:

    The UK needs to get involved. After all they do want to mess with “The Queens Bottom”.

  14. Anonymous says:

    too many naysayers and cave people here…..
    ask yourself a simple question….why would dart want make the the beach in this location worse?
    has he got a history of creating envirnomental problems/issues???
    end of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ever heard of styrofoam genius? Dart’s entire fortune is derived from a crime against the planet… I expect no moral decency from him whatsoever

  15. Knot S Smart says:

    Poor Uncle Dart just wants to dig the rocks from the bottom of the sea on Seven Mile Beach…
    Give him a break folks… We can still enjoy the rocks at the beach in Barkers, West Bay…

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think the marketing department had to think hard about putting a positive spin on that idea! I wonder how his buddy Branson thinks about the soundness of the plan, talk about schizo, tout a gold star energy efficient building then destroy reef.

  17. Anonymous says:

    It’s sad that Dart makes us all think these are new ideas and plans. Dart has it all planned out all he’s going to do in this island from a long time, these are old plans, but he’s shrewd like a con-artist and a sniper put together, so he waits for just the perfect timing (like a sniper attacking his pray), to announce each project. This is all a big thought out plan from a long time ago, nothing new to Dart, he has it all planned. And if he destroys Cayman, it’s not problem to him, he’s got big interests and investments in other countries, he doesn’t care about Cayman, he only cares what he can make off of Cayman while he can, and then move on when the s**t hits the fan with Mother Nature.

    Remember his wife brags and boasts in the US that her husband OWNS the Cayman Islands. Can’t wait til the wrath of Mother Nature bites his a$% one day, i’ll roll on the ground laughing! But he will get the laughs in the meantime, but he who laugh last is he who wins. God/Mother Nature will win with the last laugh.

    Time longah dan rope ya know!

  18. Anonymous says:

    It seems that another bad precedence will be set and other developers will follow suit! Why would it be possible for Dart to do something and not for others? And so it goes, it all started with the 7 story Ritz Carlton……..and now look what we have all over the Island.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at the location of those rocks and the dart bridge. Is it not a known fact that Dart wants to cut a channel across to the North Sound to accommodate tenders from the cruise ships to Canana bay? Its more to this request than they are letting you know, hence the reason for the WB road cut off. This is old monster rearing its head agsin. Trust me, they are playing with danger. Thanks again Mckeeva!

      • Anonymous says:

        yeah bobo, ya got dat right! he got it all plan out and he don’t stop til he get his way! Dat channel soon come too! jus watch o-o

        “sittin on da dock of da bay, watchin da tide roll away”
        la la lala lala lala lala la la lala la la
        strummin on my guitar…

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